A reflection on the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, 2013
Thereadings this Sunday call us to martyrdom; to witness in strength and love to the Lamb who shepherds us and fills us with His joy. How do we gain the confidence of Paul and Barnabas to be a witness to the truth of the Gospel?
Jesus said: “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. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
|Luke's drawing of him listening to Jesus|
And this stirs up a bit of nervousness. Truly, If you were to walk into our room in the middle of one of our meetings you would see what may look like chaos, in fact, it often feels like chaos to me (especially if I happened to have my toddler, Max, along). To our eyes the rambunctious children do not seem to be ready or able listen and hear the Word of the Lord. But our eyes miss a lot. It is hard to perceive the very small movements of God in the ordinary messiness of our daily lives.
After my first few, very, very, VERY noisy and rowdy Kyrion meetings this year, I was tempted to give in to the feeling that it really was not worth the effort on a Friday afternoon, when I would much rather go home and relax with my family after a long week. After all, we went to Mass that day, we will pray our nightly decade of the Rosary with the children before they go to bed…what more do we need to do? Yes, Mass and devotion to our Blessed Mother are foundational to this ministry, but God has shown me, through many different means, how dangerous the attitude of "I have done enough" can be. It can seduce you to compartmentalize faith. It can induce a complacency in our soul and - I think we can see this in our culture - this complacency reduces our ability to love others with the passionate and fiery love of Christ; with a love that witnesses His love. We will become lukewarm. We will not be able to perceive evil, we will be easily deceived and truth will be inverted. Thus I persevere with our other families. I have learned, over the course of the years how much He can do with a little perseverance on my part. I am learning to notice the still, small movements of His Spirit which reveal that the sheep are listening.
|Sophia's drawing of Jesus|
I, John, had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. Then one of the elders said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. “For this reason they stand before God’s temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Rev 7:9, 14 B-17
So it is imperative that we learn to hear His voice! We need to teach our children that He is always speaking to us. In our meeting, we ran a simple game with our children. They were each blindfolded, and we (their mothers) scattered around the room and all called to them. They had to listen and discern where their parent was. They all succeeded. Why? Because they live with us, because they communicate with us. They have learned to know our voices for their own safety, and for their individual needs for nurturing and love. We learn to hear His voice by living with Him every day, in His Word, in prayer, by frequently coming to Him in adoration, in the Sacraments, in repentance. Do you know His voice? You must or you will be lead astray. You must know His voice and be prepared; because sometimes He asks His followers to do hard things. To love impossible people. To forgive unspeakable crimes. To proclaim Him in terrifying situations. But in Him you can endure times of great distress, and confidently rejoice that your will be worthy of everlasting life where God Himself will wipe away every tear.
We are His people the sheep of His flock! Amen! Alleluia!