Homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter, Year A

May 15, 2011

Imprinting

For the 9:30 am crowd at St. Paul’s in Cambridge on Good Shepherd Sunday and the World Day of Prayer for Vocations:

All of Jesus’ words reveal him to be a keen observer of the natural world: we hear much in the Gospels about the growth of plants, the relative dimensions of camels and needles, the location of schools of fish, and—in today’s case—the behavior patterns of sheep.  Jesus draws our attention to one behavior in particular: after the “[shepherd of the sheep] has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice.

They recognize his voice.”   Jesus seems to have noticed, two thousand years ago, what animal behaviorists would nowadays call “imprinting.”  Perhaps the most familiar case of imprinting involves ducks rather than sheep.  As soon as a duckling hatches, it looks for its mother, whom it identifies instinctively and follows unswervingly. For the sake of survival, a duckling must be able to pick its mother out of a line-up of other ducks.  Hence, it is essential that ducklings spend the first hours of life in the company of their mother.  Otherwise, they attach themselves to pretty much anything that moves—a dog, a rubber ball or, in the worst case, a predator.  The ducklings follow whatever figure is first “imprinted” on their brains.

Returning to the example of the Gospel, we might say that Jesus’ identification of Himself as Good Shepherd suggests that becoming a sheep of his flock, becoming his disciple, is something like becoming “imprinted” with his person. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Seriously… What Should I Do?

October 31, 2010

What with the NBA season all of five days old, no doubt all you b-ball junkies out there have watched, discussed, contemplated, quantified, deep fried and blogged-about the King (LeBron James) and “The Decision” – the now infamous one hour special where he proclaimed that he was leaving the anawim Cleveland Cavaliers to play in South Beach for the Miami Heat.

And now he and the good ol’ folks at Nike have released a new commercial responding to the incredible backlash against LeBron since the deciding day.  In case you haven’t seen it take 90 seconds and watch it.  I’ll be right here.

… checking email…

… playing some dumb Facebook game…

Time’s up.  What did you think?  I’ll tell you what I thought in one word: “wow.”  Or four more: “now that’s a commercial!” Read the rest of this entry »