A Good Shepherd Sunday Homily
“… and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, … for they do not know the voice of a stranger.”
A few years ago, the theology department at a major university hosted a church leader from central Europe. The Soviet Union had just come apart and the pastor’s country was emerging from a long dark night of Communist oppression into the first light of freedom. At a dinner for the pastor, guests were full of questions about what was happening in Europe and the former Soviet bloc.
The minister responded slowly and cautiously at first, measuring his words, weighing their risk, a man not accustomed to candor among relative strangers. But as he gained confidence, he spoke of his church’s struggle through hardship and persecution under the Communist regime.
He told about the days under communism, how the Church was officially tolerated but always undermined and repressed, how the clergy were always monitored by secret agents who had infiltrated their ranks.
“We would have a meeting about some matter of church business,” he recalled, “knowing for certain that not everyone seated at the table could be trusted; some of the ‘clergy’ present were, in fact, government, agents.”
The pastor paused for a moment and then added, “But even though these government spies were careful never to betray their true identities, we could always tell who they were.”
“But how?” someone asked.
“The voice,” he replied. “The voice. Something in their voices would give them away.”
Today, we heard about Jesus as the Good Shepherd, from St. John’s Gospel. In those times it was usual at nightfall to bring a number of flocks together into one sheepfold, where they would be kept for the night with someone acting as a look-out. Then at dawn the shepherds would come back and open the sheepfold and each would call his sheep which would gather round and follow him out of the pen (they were used to his voice because he used call them to prevent them from going astray) and he would then lead them to pasture. Our Lord uses this image—one very familiar to His listeners—to teach them a divine truth: since there are strange voices around, we need to know the voice of Christ—which is continually addressing us through the Magisterium of the Church—and to follow it, if we are to get the nourishment our soul needs. Christ has given His Church certainty in doctrine and a fountain of grace in the Sacraments. He has arranged things so that there will always be people to guide and lead us, and to remind us constantly of our way. There is an infinite treasure of knowledge available to us: the Word of God kept safe by the Church, the grace of Christ administered in the Sacraments and also the witness and example of those who live by our side and have known how to build, with their good lives, a road of faithfulness to God.
The image of the Good Shepherd also recalls a favorite theme of Old Testament prophets: the chosen people are the flock, and Yahweh is their shepherd. Kings and priests are also described as shepherds or pastors. Jeremiah protests against those pastors who had let their sheep go astray, but in God’s name this prophet promises new pastors who will graze their flocks properly so that they will never again be harassed or anxious. Ezekiel reproaches pastors for their misdeeds and sloth, their greed and neglect of their responsibility: Yahweh will take the flock away from them and He Himself will look after their sheep: indeed, a unique shepherd will appear, descended from David, who will graze them and protect them. Jesus presents Himself as this shepherd who looks after His sheep, seeks out the strays, cures the crippled and carries the weak on His shoulders, thereby fulfilling the ancient prophecies.
From earliest times, Christian art found its inspiration in this touching image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, thereby leaving us a representation of His love for each of us.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, while working as a nurse in a Paris hospital in the late 1960s, Marie Carré claimed that a severely injured man, who had a Slavic look, was brought in after being in a car accident. Carré tried to communicate with the man to ask him some questions, but he didn’t or couldn’t respond. She even tried to get him to answer her questions by blinking his eyes, but he didn’t. The man survived for only a few hours before he succumbed to his injuries. Having no form of identification Carré was instructed to go through his belongings in order to possibly identify him. She did not succeed in discovering his name, but she did discover in his briefcase a 100-page-typed memoir. She began reading the papers partly to find some information to identify him and partly out of curiosity.
The memoir claimed that he was an undercover agent of the Sovit Union ordered to infiltrate the Catholic Church by becoming a priest and to put forth modernist ideas through a teaching position that would undermine the main teachings of the Church during the Second Vatican Council in subtle ways, by “turn of phrase” methods (aka word-smithing). The document gave details and even told of a murder of a priest he had committed in order to get his way. No one ever claimed his belongings and Carré eventually decided to publish the memoir. It was printed in France in May 1972 and eventually was translated into several other languages. In her memoir, the undercover Soviet agent-priest was known as AA-1025. Translated, AA means “Anti-Apostle” (I believe he was a cardinal) The designation, 1025, meant, much to the consternation of the undercover Soviet agent-priest, meant that 1,024 undercover Soviet agents preceded him and infiltrated the Catholic Church! He was furious when he discovered that he wasn’t the first and only one. (See below to obtain and read the entire memoir in .pdf format.)
Every day so many voices shout at us, assault us, demand from us, and seduce us. But if we are tuned to the voice of Christ — the voice of compassion, of peace, of justice, and of mercy — we begin to discern the manipulations and falsehoods in the noise and begin to hear Christ. The challenge facing every disciple of Jesus is to listen for His voice in the quiet of our hearts, and in the center of our prayerful spirits. If we listen carefully and faithfully and remove the static of sin and worry, we can discern the voice of the Good Shepherd leading us through the “gate” to the kingdom of His Father.
Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us!
AA-1025: The Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle
by Marie Caree
Absorbing and compelling reading from beginning to end, AA -1025 Memoirs of an
Anti-Apostle gives us an interesting perspective of just what has happened to the Catholic Church since the 1960 s.
In the 1960 s, a French nurse, Marie Carre, attended an auto-crash victim who was brought into her hospital in a city she purposely does not name. The man lingered there near death for a few hours and then died. He had no identification on him, but he had a briefcase in which there was a set of quasi-autobiographical notes. She kept these notes and read them, and because of their extraordinary content, decided to publish them.
The result is this little book, AA-1025 Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle, a strange and fascinating account of a Communist who purposely entered the Catholic priesthood along with many others, with the intent to subvert and destroy the Church from within. In PDF format: http://www.fatimamovement.com/images/eBooks/Aa-025TheMemoirsOfAnAnti-Apostle.pdf
Read full review on Pro Life Corner below:
ProLifeCorner.com- 2/26/2013- By Frank Munda- Memoirs of the Communist Infiltration Into the Church by Marie Carré I just completed reading for the second time a short little book with an even a shorter title, “AA 1025”. The first time I read this book was well over 20 years ago and although I found the book disturbing, it somehow did not register all that clearly with me at that time. We all know how smart we can be when we look back with that so-called 20/20 hindsight. With hindsight, all of a sudden things are very, very clear. We know that Holy Mother Church has been under attack by many groups, organizations and the media in general, especially for the last 50 years. Some may feel that these attacks are random, others might feel that because the Church has the courage to speak out against sin in the world, that is why the Church is under attack….
Full review: http://prolifecorner.com/aa-1025/