I Will Lay Down My Life for the Sheep

(April 25, 2020)

Bottom line: Jesus lays down his life for us so we can lay down our lives for those entrusted to us

"I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Some forty years ago when I was a young priest, I was in a summer meeting with a group of parishioners. All of sudden we heard an explosion like a gun going off. The window in our room shattered. Realizing someone was throwing rocks I started running toward the door with three men behind me. A couple of teenagers stood there with rocks in their hands. Seeing us, they let go of the rocks and began running. Filled with adrenalin I ran faster than I ever had. Unfortunately rounding a corner I slipped. The other three men kept the pursuit and a few minutes later were back marching the two boys in front. The boys were crying. We told them we were not going to call the police, but that we wanted to see their parents. They took us to their home which was not far away. The parents were mortified and promised restitution. That night I lay in bed, my body aching from bruises and scrapes, but I felt good. I was willing to put my body on line to defend the flock. I had a little bit of the feeling young dads - and moms - have. They are ready to physically lay down their lives for their children.

That was forty years ago. Today I wouldn't have much to offer as far as physical defense, but Jesus indicates that the shepherd also spiritually defend his flock:

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.

Who is the wolf? Early Christian writers identify the wolf as Satan. More than ever Satan is attacking us - especially our children. Satan is cruel. Like a roaring lion, he attacks those who are weak and defenseless. He attacks our children and today he has powerful tools. To defend our children, to defend the flock, we have to pull together. We do that as a parish and we do that as an archdiocese. It's our way of uniting with Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

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.

Jesus is the invisible shepherd. Representing him visibly in Western Washington is Archbishop Etienne. I'd to now give some details about our support for and unity with Archbishop Etienne through the Annual Catholic Appeal....

Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He lays down his life for us so we can lay down our lives for those entrusted to us. Amen.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Third Sunday of Easter, Year B):

2018: Evolutionary Leap
2015: Disciples and Disciple Makers Week 3: Try Prayer
2012: He Likes Matter
2009: The God of Our Fathers
2006: Is Life Worth Living?
2003: The Other
2000: Touch Me and See

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

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