Thursday, August 4, 2011

the Good Shepherd

I've been reading a lot of journal entries and old talks I've written.  One that strikes me over and over is the one I want to share with you now.  I gave this talk somewhere between 2005-2007 at an XLT (Eucharistic Adoration with a witness talk for teens).

For power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
This power St. Paul speaks of is not power like that of Superman, Batman, The Hulk, or Spiderman. It is the power of sanctity, of holiness. Striving for it. Working at it. And, most of all, asking to be made holy. Power of perfection is not something that happens overnight. The key word here is perseverance.

R.D. spoke 2 weeks ago about GRACE. “Give me GRACE” we said over and over. Asking God to give us grace. Because without GRACE we have no hope in the power of perfection.

R.D. talked about how God has given us a free gift – grace. And all we have to do is ask for it. The CCC says that GRACE is supernatural. That it can’t be found on earth.

Jesus came to us from heaven to live among us.
What was his mission? To save man from the effects of sin.
He didn’t do this with x-ray vision, super human strength, or by flying through the air. He simply lived – spoke the truth, loved His neighbor and enemy, and spoke of His father’s love. 

Sure He healed people and performed miracles, but He spent the majority of His time praying for others and telling people about “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” This leads to heaven.
Christ calls all to be saints.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:3 ~ This is the will of God, your holiness. And in Matthew 5:48 ~ So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Being perfect as God the Father, we cannot do. For we, as humans, are not divine. We can however, be can become perfect as a human.

The Good Shepherd (John 10:11-16, 26-28)
I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep 7 that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.

Do we see what this means? Not Little Bo Peep and her sheep. But a shepherd and his sheep. What happens in the mind of a good shepherd? He wants what’s best for whatever happens. If He leads them over rocky ground, it is only so that they have better grass to eat; if he steers them away from bushes that they want to eat, it is only because he knows which plants are poisonous.

Now, let’s become like the good sheep. Sheep are great at following. The good sheep trusts. When the shepherd takes an unexpected road, the sheep follows and does not question the direction of the shepherd. When the shepherd whistles for the sheepdogs to gather the flock, there are no complaints about cruelty or the loud barking or how much nicer the other dog is. Sheep accept all these things because they are sheep. And, because they trust their shepherd.
In being made perfect, we trust in God’s plan for us to take us home.

A holy man, Fr. Bede Jarrett said, “ Cannot you be grateful for the road though it be rough and uncertain? It does all a road was ever meant to do. It takes you home.”

Galatians 2:20 says “yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me”
To live, we must be alive, and we must grow.

John 15:4-5 says “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing."

We as branches are only alive for as long as we receive life from the vine. If you broke a branch off the vine and put it above your bed to watch it grow and produce grapes. It wouldn’t; it would shrivel up and die.

A branch receives its strength from the vine; grows in the direction the vine does. The branch does not try to show off and grow more quickly than the vine wants it to. A branch should not get upset if it is about to produce a splendid bunch of grapes and the pruning knife clips it off. The pruning knife is not stifling your growth, yet it is allowing you to grow stronger, better, and healthier. Do not whine or complain, the pruning knife is doing what you cannot do.
He desires to give us the power to live the way He has called us to live. This power is GRACE. Our help in time of need.

May we have Faith. Persevering in being made perfect by the True Vine.

May we have Hope in trusting in God’s plan for us.

May we have Charity in loving one another as Christ loves us.

1 Corinthians 12:20 says “But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”
He has called us all to be saints, to be holy. We are not all called to be in religious life. We are to be made perfect as He has called us to be. 

Be like a good sheep that follows the Good Shepherd.

St. Catherine of Siena said, “If you are what you are meant to be, you will set the world on fire!”

Lord, God, give us the power to be made perfect in weakness.

No comments: