Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Easter: May 8, 2022, Mother’s Day

May 2, 2022 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“I give my sheep eternal life.”

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and the follow me.” Jesus calls each of us by name to follow Him. We need to listen for His call to follow Him and to lead others to Christ by the way we live our lives, showing love and caring for others. He calls us to “follow Him” through our vocation in this life, that is, our way of life in the Body of Christ. That vocation could be as a single person, a married person, a consecrated religious person, or an ordained minister through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

St. John said in our reading from Revelation that he saw a multitude of people in heaven, so great that they could not be counted. “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” In our reading from the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul and St. Barnabas had to go through much distress in bringing the word of God to the Jews in Antioch, but the Jews rejected God’s word through Paul and Barnabas. Paul then turned to the gentiles, who gladly accepted the word of God and entered a life of faith and through baptism into the Body of Christ.

Emil Kapaun, from Kansas, answered Jesus’ call to “follow Him” as a Catholic Priest. Like St. Paul, who ministered to those in Antioch, Fr. Kapaun was a Chaplain in the Army ministering to soldiers fighting in the Korean War in 1950.

St. Paul gave all he had to his fellow Jews, who rejected him, then turned to the gentiles, who gladly listened to him. Fr. Kapaun ministered to the injured on the battlefield, then to P.O.W. soldiers, stopping a Korean soldier from killing one injured man. He then carried that man on his back for four miles as they marched to a prison camp.

Fr. Kapaun tended to his fellow prisoners’ wounds and risked his life to get them food and clean water. Eventually, Fr. Kapaun succumbed to his own illness and died in 1951. He gave all he had by his deeds and words, allowing his fellow P.O.W. soldiers to keep faith in God and hope for their release. Nine years ago, Fr. Kapaun posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Obama. A number of his fellow P.O.W. friends where at the ceremony. The Vatican had already declared Fr. Kapaun a “Servant of God,” the first step to canonized sainthood.

Fr. Kapaun is one of the Jesus’ sheep, who heard His voice, followed Him, and has gained eternal life in Christ. Fr. Kapaun showed us with his life, what it means to hear Christ, know His voice, and follow Him. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Jesus’ reward to those who follow Him: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”

– Bishop Roy Campbell

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