Ampleforth Abbey

24 February 2018

Fourth Week of Easter - Monday (2017)

Homily preached by Fr Kieran Monahan OSB at the Conventual Mass in the Abbey Church.

Readings for Year A: Acts 11:1-8; John 10:11-18

We never stop learning. Peter, who had received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, was still learning and some of the early believers still had to learn, despite Jesus' assurances that there were sheep that were not of the fold who needed him. So God gives Peter and the disciples another nudge through his encounter with the household of Cornelius. We never stop learning and rightly so - who are we to stand in God's way?

As sheep we need to keep trusting that our shepherd knows what he is doing and he may well take us down roads we would not have chosen for ourselves. We may be afraid, we might prefer our familiar pen where we feel safe, but the Good Shepherd keeps moving, and sometimes we need a nudge too. Let us be as open as Peter was, let us be willing to be surprised by what God has in store for us: even if a times it may mean walking through the valley of the shadow of death, we need fear no evil.

Acts 11

‘I had scarcely begun to speak when the Holy Spirit came down on them in the same way as it came on us at the beginning........I realised then that God was giving them the identical thing he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and who was I to stand in God’s way?’

John 10

‘I am the good shepherd................and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well.'

(The above image formed the backdrop of Pope Francis' recent meeting with the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, Tawadros II, during his visit to Egypt)