Fourth Sunday of Easter


By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

According to Church tradition, this weekend is known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” since our readings speak of the shepherd hears the voice of the sheep. As a result, it is also a time when the homily often concerns vocations, especially to the priesthood.

However, according to North American tradition, the weekend is Mother’s Day weekend, so let me begin by offering many blessings to all of the mothers and surrogate mothers out there – both living and deceased.

Of course, I wouldn’t even dream of putting one theme over another – in fact, both are very much connected. To put it simply, I would not be the priest I am today without my own mother (or for that matter, the many surrogate mothers that have cared for me along the way). Both intentionally, and unintentionally, my mother created the space in my own heart and mind that allowed me to hear the shepherd’s voice.

For most of my life, my mother has battled great illnesses, requiring the whole family to be the caregivers we never planned to be. Though it took a while, I now see how clearly God worked through her, teaching me compassion and selflessness.

Today, Mom and I are separated by roughly 2500 kilometres, but I think of her often. Whenever I meet with someone who is ill, mom’s voice is in my head. Hers is always the compassionate, selfless voice that makes room for God to be heard in my own heart.

So whether they are near or far, living or deceased; let us give thanks to mom for giving us a heart to hear the Shepherd’s voice.