Homily – 4th Sunday of Easter

So today we celebrate a trifecta. We continue the Easter season. We celebrate the Sunday of the Good Shepherd, and we are preparing for our Earth Day celebrations. Now, all of these lead us to ask ourselves a question. Now, the answer will be very different depending on each and every one of our worldviews. The question is this: is there any such thing as rehabilitation?

Can in fact a person be rehabilitated? It is change possible? No, I’ve just used the dreaded C word – change. And as I am so want to do, who likes change? Okay, once again I. There are not many, but the more we shake it up, the better things become. So in the first reading, we are asked to consider the question Is Peter changeable?

Now remember earlier in John’s Gospel, Peter is the one who is told you are going to deny me three times. And he says, no, I am not. Peter is also the stubborn one when Jesus wants to wash his feet. What does he say? No, you can’t. And even when Peter sees the empty tomb, he’s the one that says, not sure what’s really going on here.

Can Peter change? Will he be open minded to the possibility of serving and being served? Is he willing to face opposition and yet proclaim the risen Christ? Is he the one who’s going to be willing to stand at the empty tomb and say, yes, Lord, I believe. Can Peter change? Well, the answer in the first reading today is yes.

Peter can change. Now, likewise, today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. Now, for the good Jews of Jesus’s time. He was a criminal, a revolutionary, and an outlaw. They thought he could not be rehabilitated. He’s not going to be able to change, and he’s certainly not going to change us. So the easiest way to solve this problem of rehabilitation is to get rid of it.

So the Lord is crucified. Two revolutionaries on either side. There’s how Jesus was not considered rehabbed or rehabilitated. Bull. And yet, my good buddy Frederick is on the loose. I love that kid. He’s the best. So, however, we gather today to remember that Jesus, through his passion, death, and resurrection, has saved us all. That Christ Jesus, through his willingness to come and serve and be served, presents for us the promise of everlasting life on Easter Sunday.

We as the community of Saint Charles, and in fact the community around the world, renewed our baptismal faith where we were first given membership in our church and made children of God, his flock, his sheep net Saturday. We as a community of faith are going to celebrate First Communion that day when we lead our young children to the table of the Lord for the first time, so that they can be nourished by the Eucharist.

And then in June, we will present our young adult to the Bishop for confirmation. We will say to our good Shepherd, Robert, that yes, they are ready to proclaim the gospel as the adult members of our faith. Isn’t that extraordinary that the one who was fought to be un rehabilitated bull has saved us, has rehabilitated our lives so that we can live forever?

And then, as we prepare for Earth Day, we are asked to consider whether or not we believe that through our efforts, we can rehabilitate all creation. In 1970. This Earth Day idea was established because literally our rivers were burning, our land was flooded by water, pollution was killing our environment. And here we are now, 54 years later. Have we worked hard to change the environment?

Pope Benedict, who was given the nickname the Green Pope because of his ecological theology, invited us to work to preserve God’s gift of creation. Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si’, has invited us to remember the words of Saint Francis in which we are to praise Brother Son and Sister Moon. Do we in our hearts believe that we can change our world, our environment, to reflect the glory and the grandeur of God?

Three very interesting areas of our lives, and how do we consider rehabilitation? Was Peter able to be rehabilitated? Has Christ Jesus rehabilitated our lives so that we can claim our childhood right as children of God? And can we work to preserve our great gift of creation? In a moment, we’re going to form a procession and come to the altar of the Lord to be nourished, to receive that grace that allows us to change and change our world through the proclamation of the gospel.

As we prepare to receive the Eucharist, let us answer the question for ourselves about rehabilitation. Can people change? Can we change? Can we be creative elements of change for a changing world? The answer lies in the gospel and the answer is yes. Through Christ Jesus, we are changed. And so let us glory as God’s holy people, his sheep, his flock, who remember and celebrate our Good Shepherd.