Jesus, the gate

Editor’s Note: The following is the transcript from Archbishop Paul Coakley’s homily upon commencement of the Conception Seminary College Class of 2014. It was given May 11, 2014.

I am grateful for this opportunity to give the homily today in the presence of the monastic and seminary communities as well as the families and friends of our graduates as we bid farewell to the Conception Seminary College Class of 2014. 

This Fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally known as Good Shepherd Sunday.  Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd and Christian art has been fond of portraying Him as such from the time when the earliest distinctively Christian art was created in the catacombs.  It is a beautiful image.  The good shepherd is the one who is concerned for the welfare of his sheep, guiding them to good pastures, protecting them from the threats of thieves and wild animals, and who seeks out the lost sheep and carries it back to safety on his own shoulders.  The good shepherd is one who, as Pope Francis has said more recently and quite poignantly, takes on the smell of his sheep!