Acts 4, 8-12, In his name this man stands before you healed.
Psalm 118, The stone rejected by the builders has become the corner stone.
1 John 3, 1-2, See what love the Father has bestowed on us.
John 10, 11-18, I am the good shepherd.
Author: Luke, the same who wrote the gospel. He was an educated, urbane Jew.
Date: the years 75-80
Subject: This is a travel log, detailing the spread of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome and the Mediterranean in between.
Today: Peter is talking to the elders and leaders of the people, aiming to convince them about Jesus.
The Good Shepherd
I would like to talk this morning about the good shepherd. Two proposals.
First, we have shepherds all around us.
Secondly, the good shepherd has three characteristics.
- The shepherd gathers people.
- The people the shepherd gathers are richer and happier because of being called.
- The shepherd, likewise, is richer and happier because of inviting all these people.
I mentioned that this past weekend Rosemary & I attended both a Jesuit class reunion and an alumni reunion of 50 years at Spring Hill College in Mobile. The shepherd who called us together and made all the arrangements was my classmate and good friend, Bill Dowie. To me this was extraordinary because the last time we all met two years ago, over twenty of us, Bill was still mourning the love of his life, whom he had cared for the last years of her life.
Not only did he gather those who could make it somewhat at the last moment, but he shared with us that he was introduced to someone with whom he sees a special relationship developing. Rosemary & I were most touched, doubly so by the charming woman he brought.
I left that reunion richer and happier.
The second shepherd is in our very midst. This guy invites with open arms and open heart guys who have hit bottom. We, too, have accepted his invitation to nurture these men by our help with Souls Harbor, of which he is the director, a 24/7 job.
Brent, Thanks for being a good shepherd for over 60 men and a shepherd for me and the community.
The third shepherd, every Thursday at least, loads up 16 meals. With her friend, Barbara, they deliver Meals on Wheels to homebound men and women, whites and a rainbow of races.
Rosemary and Barbara gather their people by bringing meals to their door. The people are richer and happier because of their visit, as I am by their example.
Finally, there is a lady in our neighborhood named Patty Cody. She is our neighborhood shepherd. She organized the neighborhood association. She has set up a security patrol for us, and a neighborhood communication network. You can find your lost dog or cat and you can put on line a picture of a lost dog you find in your yard. All this, plus other conveniences. But her biggest bringing together takes place on July 4, when everyone is invited to a neighborhood parade, a picnic at the playground of a grade school, and a time when we see each other, maybe the first time since last July 4.
Rosemary & I are the refreshment Czars and each year I come home richer and happier with what Patty has helped us celebrate.
Let me add an extra and a special Good Shepherd, Genevieve. Does she not call us all together? Do we not feel richer and happier just be in her marvelous presence. And from my vantage point, I think she, too, is richer and happier because we are all responding to her.
Good shepherds are all around us.
Who is a good shepherd in your life and for whom are you a good shepherd?