Dear Parish Family,
There is so much we can say of our Sunday Gospel this week, I will keep it simple. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who showed us total self-giving love. For some of us, it’s hard to understand the sacrifices that a good shepherd was willing to make for his flock. A hired hand is there for the pay, at the sign of danger abandons the sheep, he has no investment with the sheep in his care. A good shepherd loves his sheep, living alongside of them for many years, knowing each one. He would see to the needs of his sheep, guiding them where to eat and drink, finding shelter from the weather, even risking his life to protect the sheep from wolves or thieves. A good shepherd knows his sheep and they know his voice, they trust him and follow him. He cares for his sheep not out of obligation but of love.
For those of us who have only seen sheep or shepherds at the county fair, perhaps it is easier to understand this kind of self-giving love, in the relationship of a parent and his child. In the second reading we are reminded, “Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.” We are His Children, his beloved. As his children, no sacrifice is too much. When I was a child my parents worked in the fields, at times leaving the house as the sun was rising and back as it was setting. A hard job and low wage, to be able to provide for my siblings and me. Even after they got home, they did not have the luxury to put their feet up and rest. Together they would take on the daily house tasks, mom making sure we ate together a warm healthy dinner, dad would make sure we had done our homework and have us share our day’s adventures. I remember dad always keeping up the yard, watering the grass and flowers. Why would he add another task to his already exhausted body? He did this because he wanted us to have a place to play and knew how much my mom loved the roses in the garden. Sundays, their only day off, after church, we would pack up the car and go to the park or beach. I am sure they would much rather have stayed home and slept in. I don’t remember ever hearing them
complain about how tired they were. I am able to see all their sacrifice was done not out of obligation but out of love. I am sure you have many similar stories of your own. No sacrifice is too big for those you love.
This Sunday is also Vocation Sunday, we pray for our priest and Church leaders who are caring for the souls, who go out and gather the lost sheep to bring back to God’s loving embrace. And for all the many good shepherds in our lives, who are given the responsibility of caring for others, may we all be his good sheep, listening attentively to his voice, and follow his example of self-giving love. Inspiring others to follow him especially in the vocation of priesthood or religious life. Jesus the Good Shepherd is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Let us as followers of Jesus, be witnesses to his resurrection, and do all things with love.
Faith Formation Minister