Fourth Sunday of Easter - Fr. Pete Iorio
May 8, 2022 - 8:30 AM, 11:00 AM
Every year the Church offers us this Sunday as Good Shepherd Sunday. The Gospel is very short, but it clearly speaks of the tenderness that Jesus has for his sheep. He says that his flock is his Father's gift and that in caring for them he will not lose any of them. It is a Gospel that gives us confidence in the God who calls us and cares for us throughout life. For many the image of the Good Shepherd brings comfort and peace. Especially in difficult times, it is good to be sure that Christ watches over us.
Friday night, Monsignor Bill and I went to the 50th anniversary celebration of ordination of Monsignor Al Humbrecht in Soddy Daisy, just north of Chattanooga. Father Adam was going to join us, but he got a wonderful gift in that his mother came here for Mother’s Day weekend. Fr. Al was my inspiration and model for priesthood and continues to be my mentor. On his holy card and mass program, he chose the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd. One point he made in his homily bears repeating. He told the story of how when he was newly ordained, a parishioner who was a mother of 5 told him something like this, “you were taught how to be a priest in seminary. But it is our job to teach you how to be a good pastoral person.” Think about how that applies to you.
This is so true. I can recount numerous stories of faithful parishioners who taught me by their loving words and deeds how to be a good pastor. It is only an accompanying you, that we learn how to be good pastors and also see in the way that you are a mother and father and leaders of groups that you sacrifice and are willing to lay down your lives and make choices out of love for those in your care.
Since it is Mother’s Day, I conclude with a story of a mother who very much exhibits the kind of love of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
Some of us are grown-up now, but our living mothers, who are very much good shepherds, still teach us throughout our lives. This took place in Knoxville. Back in the day, when we used pagers, the police chief’s pager went off during a council meeting. Police Chief Phil Keith was startled to see that the call was from his mother. Concerned, he rushed to the press table and phoned her. He heard his mother‘s voice ask, “Phil Keith, are you chewing gum?” She had been watching the council meeting on cable TV. “Yes, ma’am,” answered Chief Keith. “Well, it looks awful,” his mother said. “Spit it out.” — Keith dutifully removed the gum and went back to his meeting. People who are good shepherds in our lives can guide us in right and healthy ways directly and subtly by words and deeds .