How well do you know the people in your life? Because there are a lot of different levels and ways that you could say you know someone. On the one hand there are people that you know their name and maybe met once but that’s about it. So if someone asked me if I know Bishop Perez I could say, “Yeah, I know him. I would recognize him in a crowd. But I don’t really know him personally.” Or on another level you might be around someone all the time and know their mannerism and opinions but don’t know them in the sense of knowing who they really are and what they think and dream about. I mean, I can guess whether it was Fr. Bob or Fr. Rob or Josh who walked into the rectory just by their footsteps but I don’t know what they hope their priesthood will be like in ten years. Then there is the real deep meaning of knowing someone. It’s the kind of knowing that we try to have with our families, with our closest friends and with a spouse. The type of knowing where you understand what that person is thinking and feeling without them saying a word, maybe even before they themselves understand their thoughts and feelings.
Christ says that he knows us. He said “I am the Good Shepherd, I know mine and mine know me”. He knows us. And as the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for us and raised it again, the one who destroyed death so that we could have life… he knows us much more than that first level of knowing about us or the second level of knowing what we are like. And what’s crazy is that he knows us even more than the last depths of connection that we reach with so few people where we share our hearts. Christ know you better than you know yourself. Christ was the Word that spoke and brought you into being and with complete love gave his life for you. The Good Shepherd knows who you are.
And you know him too. I don’t know why but this year I have been struck by how the readings of the Easter season give us so much reason to be filled with confidence, to be filled us with the paschal joy that the prayers of the mass keep referring to. There is nothing to fear when you know that Christ has risen from the dead, when you know that he appeared to his apostles and gave them his peace, when you know that he told his disciples that they are witnesses, when you know that he is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for the sheep and raised it again. You know Christ in the scriptures and in the sacraments, in what you have heard and in what you have felt. Easter is simply putting it all right in front of our eyes again, reminding us that we know Christ.
“I am the Good Shepherd, I know mine and mine know me” I hope that in this Easter time you give yourself the opportunity to pray and to rest in the reality of the relationship our God has chosen to have with us. And please remember this too: for you to be holy means nothing more than to be who Christ knows you to be. Pope Francis just wrote a new letter called “Rejoice and be Glad”, and he reminded us that, and I quote, “The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts, rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them.” In other words Pope Francis is reminding us that the holiness of St. Peter was different from the holiness of St. Benedict that was different from the holiness of St. Perpetua that was different from the holiness of St. John Paul II. Live in the knowledge that God knows you, become the creation that God knows you to truly be, and you will find holiness.
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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.