May 7, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Easter


The readings for this Fourth Sunday of Easter tell us what happens when we grasp the full meaning of what Jesus accomplished to ensure our eternal salvation. The Scriptures show us what is possible when we believe, even if it seems impossible. This is a common occurrence and plays out in many a life story.

Adelfina was a young immigrant from southern Italy. At age 12, she left her close friends and family seeking a new future in the United States. As she left that day, she saw only fear and panic in her future. This young girl was consumed by the challenges that left her future wrapped in worries. She only saw before her a new land filled with insurmountable obstacles.

Her future seemed bleak. “Why was God doing this to me?” she prayed. She thought it would be better to die than face a life of such a scary and unknown future. Clutching her rosary, she prayed to Mary. Soon, she felt comforted because the Rosary helped her to remember the love and protection of God and her family. Empowered by these thoughts, she felt she could undertake this journey, because the love of God and her family were with her.

Praying the Rosary, 12-year-old Adelfina allowed faith to fill her fearful heart. Her faith reminded her that God indeed was accompanying her on this journey. With God as her companion, all was possible.

In the First Letter of Peter, he also tells us what’s possible through the power of faith. Once the ashamed betrayer of Jesus, Peter had to live down the shame of his action. Through his faith in God’s mercy, Peter’s faith in the message of Jesus took him from a scared and frightened follower to a courageous and zealous preacher, leading thousands to be baptized.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the gatekeeper. He wants his followers to hear his voice, which will lead us through the gate and into God’s kingdom. The gatekeeper will continually call until all are safely inside. The shepherd wants all to enter.

Homily Helps: A new approach

If you have been a regular subscriber to The Priest, you will notice our homily resources have changed slightly with the publication’s redesign. Instead of pre-packaged homilies, we are offering a homily “toolbox” of sorts, with different elements designed to help you create your homily. A reflection is still provided to help jump-start any thoughts you may have, as well as potential questions and themes for you to consider. Should you be missing the more traditional homily backgrounds, we have prepared a complimentary PDF e-book for 2017, which can be sent to you via email or traditional mail. To receive this resource, please call 260-359-2599 or email PriestFeedback@osv.com.

Homily Helps for the April issue was written by FATHER RICHARD R. DE LILLIO, OSFS, D. Min., an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, who is a clinical associate professor of homiletics at The Catholic University of America.