Fourth Sunday of Easter

May 8, 2022

Six Little Words: Fourth Sunday of Easter

For this and other Homilies and articles by Deacon Jeff Sutterman,
please visit his website at

  1. Six Little Words!
    1. Six little words!
    2. This Sunday’s Gospel is about six little words
    3. These words have the power to change everything about us
    4. Change our view on life


  1. Hopefully we’ve had an experience of a life-changing moment
    1. A moment that is a door, a line crossed, after which you can never be the same person
    2. For example:
      1. The moment you take your vows as a married couple
      2. Or take your vows to religious life or holy orders
  • The day you are declared cancer-free
  1. Or, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, the moment you become a parent
  1. These moments are life-changing, we can never have the same perspective again
  2. They are also difficult to put into words


  • Ask someone, what was is it like to be newlyweds, a priest, a parent, and you will likely get silence
    1. And a search for words, where words fail
    2. And finally, metaphors, poetic, or visionary language
    3. As someone struggles to put into words that which soars beyond words.


  1. Something very close to this is going on in the Book of Revelation
    1. Unique to the Easter Season, each week we hear from the Book of Revelation,
    2. A book that contains a man named John’s struggle to find words for a life-changing experience
    3. An experience that so profoundly changed him that he is willing to be imprisoned on the island of Patmos for it.
    4. Is the book a prophesy about the End of the World?
      1. Maybe, in a way
    5. But it is more about a new reality, a new creation,
    6. As we will hear in today’s Eucharistic prayer,
    7. a new order for understanding our present reality,
    8. That springs from the Resurrection, and six little words in today’s Gospel


  1. Writing on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day, John has been faithfully writing down what the the risen Christ has shown him
    1. He describes a great heavenly liturgy, into which our own earthly liturgy participates
    2. In today’s reading, Christ shows John
    3. a great multitude, which no one can count, of every nation, race, people and tongue.
    4. Wearing white robes, and holding palm branches
    5. Signs of martyrdom


  1. We might ask, “For what is such a multitude willing to give their lives?”
    1. The answer: Six little words from today’s Gospel


  • The Lord shows John far more nations, races, peoples and tongues than he can know in his lifetime.
    1. John is seeing into the ages, people he couldn’t possibly know, or imagine, people who would rather sacrifice their lives than deny this New Order
    2. People like:
      1. St. Maximilian Kolbe
      2. St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
  • St. Oscar Romero
  1. And too many others whom John could not possibly know
  1. In fact, in reflecting upon this very reading, Pope Francis commented the past 100 years some of most violent in Church history
  2. Seems far from us, with our freedom to worship guaranteed
  3. But it is all too much a reality to members of our own faith community with friends, relatives in Africa, India, or Viet Nam.


  • John may have seen someone with ties to Maryland.
    1. As we reflect today on Christ’s presence in the Presider, and the Good Shepherd….
    2. We reflect on the life of Blessed Stanley Rother


  1. From Oklahoma, studied for priesthood here at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary
  2. Sent on mission to Guatemala
  3. Nurtured a Church, community, farm, and hope
  4. Missionary Church caught up in nation’s Civil War
  5. Recalled to Oklahoma, spent 3 months with family
  6. Returned to Mount to discern what he should do
  7. “A Shepherd doesn’t run”
  8. Returned to Guatemala, murdered 4 months later.


  1. What changed Fr. Stan so much he was willing to give his life?
    1. For he loved his life, precious to him
    2. What new way of seeing gave him the courage to give his life in witness?


  1. Six little words…. Six little words in today’s Gospel


  1. And these words are:
    1. “The Father and I are One.”
    2. “The Father and I are One.”


  • These powerful words change everything!!!
    1. Jesus is not saying he has been given power from the Father
    2. Or words from the Father
    3. Jesus is saying HE IS THE FATHER!


  • Imagine the joy of the disciples, of Mary! When they realize that
    1. Whoever has seen Jesus, has seen God!
    2. Whoever has seen the face of Jesus, has seen God!
    3. Now, think of our JOY, when hear the Words of Jesus, we hear the Words of God
    4. And When we receive the Eucharist, we receive our God!


  • These words, “The Father and I are One,” have the power to change and transform our lives forever!
    1. And they compel a choice!
    2. Jesus is not just a holy man with ageless advice
    3. Someone whose teachings we can pick and choose
    4. Someone whom we can follow part way, when it works for us, or follow half-heartedly
    5. He is either God, or He is nothing.


  1. When we hear the words, “The Father and I are One”
    1. We either reject them as nonsense, and search in the darkness for another meaning to life
    2. Or we must give our whole lives to Him, to Jesus, our God, and follow Him with all our heart, all our mind, with our whole lives


  • (The Good Shepherd)
    1. We must accept Him as Lord of our Life
    2. And place our trust in Him, place our lives in His care, in the care of the Good Shepherd
    3. For He is our only Shepherd,
    4. …and we know His voice


  • As we have celebrated throughout this Year of the Eucharist
    1. We hear His voice in the Word, in the Eucharist, in the Presider, in our Song and Praise, and …… in One Another
    2. When we gather to discuss our Haiti mission, or any of our many ministries, His is the risen and unseen hand guiding us
    3. When we teach the sacraments, and welcome people to our faith, He is the unseen one shepherding us
    4. When we pray in the silence of our homes, He is the risen, Loving presence near to us.


  • Look to our stained glass window of the Resurrection

    1. Jesus, rising from the tomb in victory, is staring into our eyes.
    2. Look at the two Roman Guards
    3. One is cowering in fear, the other asleep in complacency



  • Don’t let these six little words
    1. fail to rouse you from complacency or drowsiness!
    2. Don’t cower in fear from their consequences!


  1. This week, spend time with the words, “The Father and I am One.”
    1. Pray over them, devour them, meditate on them, discuss them!


  • And May the truth of these words, may the reality of “The Father and I are One”
    1. Move us to give our lives to the Lord
    2. And place our whole being
    3. Into the strong hands of the Good Shepherd.



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