Jesus Our Shepherd

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Homily for 12 June 2005
Rev. Bob Scanlan

Life is more than it seems to be.
We are more than we appear to be.
God is more than we let God be.
These 3 statements are from a book written by Fran Salone-Pelletier entitled “AWARENESS TO GOD”. Fran is on the national CITI Board which met here a year ago.

For some, if not many, life can so easily get into a rut. Many of us have a set routine which can easily chock and strangle any creativity, spontaneity in life. As a bumper sticker declared, “Same stuff—different day”. “Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned.” They were like sheep without a shepherd. It is at this time Jesus empowered the 12 to not only be listeners but DOERS. They themselves were the harvest ripened to be harvested. Now Jesus told them they were also the “harvesters”.

LIFE IS MORE THAN IT APPEARS TO BE. Life is more that playing the role of the sheep following others blindly. If life is about “doing”; what are we to do? Jesus gave the 12 and us authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness! We have heard of the times Jesus cured the blind; and the ill; the men, women and children. In the Gospel today we hear Jesus telling the 12 and us to do as He has done! We are to drive out the demons in our life; those very things in our life which are our demons, those things which keep us from being the best person we can be. Everything has been given to you and you are to give to others what you have been given without cost.

WE ARE MORE THAN WE APPEAR TO BE. Our job is to not be passive, but to be active. Our job is not to be reactive but proactive; not to react to prior situations but to see what needs to be done and act to make it happen. Our job is to do as Jesus did! Preach, teach, and heal as Jesus preached, taught, and healed. Preach the message we have heard; teach the truth we have heard; heal in the same way we have been healed. This means listening and looking at each person with the compassionate eyes and heart of Jesus. We are called and empowered to heal rather than hurt. We are to remove the demons of excessive guilt, shame, and futility that control the strong as well as the weak among us. To be a “harvester” is to be a forgiver and lover, gathering the wounded wherever they may be. To be a harvester of the crop of Jesus is to bring all to their salvation and freedom; to include everyone and reject no-one. Simply put it means to be in our life as Jesus was in his life. Be open to all for fear of rejecting the keystone, the most important. We are to be harvesters and not judges.

GOD IS MORE THAN WE LET GOD BE. We are to be both sheep and shepherds. At times we can get confused as to whom we follow. I refuse to follow simple human rules that I know mean nothing in my and your salvation; rules made by others meant to control and manipulate; rules which are meant to exclude people from the community rather than include people in our community. We are to follow Jesus and no other. We are to be shepherds and be able to lead those who are lost; but lead them where? If we but let God be God and not try to take over God’s role by manipulating others we will be true Shepherds and lead others to God. We can do that by fashioning our life after the very person this community claims to be dedicated—Jesus Our Shepherd, and no one else.