With gratitude that the Church has officially recognized the charism of our Salvatorian Founder, Blessed Francis Jordan, the Salvatorian Family will be celebrating his first feast day this Wednesday, July 21st. The welcoming atmosphere and the drive to share the goodness and kindness of the Savior with others, which are so much a part of our St. Pius X community, are expressions of this charism. I thank Joann Corsten for creating the banner in honor of Blessed Francis Jordan, which is in the sanctuary.
Our readings this weekend focus on the theme of the Good Shepherd. In the first reading, the Lord laments having bad shepherds. Our responsorial psalm, Psalm 23, is probably the most well known: The Lord is my shepherd…. In our Gospel, Jesus once again demonstrates how He is the Good Shepherd.
The Gospel selection begins with the disciples returning from their first mission trip (we heard Jesus send them out two by two last weekend) and Jesus is listening carefully to them as they excitedly relate their experiences. He realizes they must be exhausted and He invites them to go with Him to rest. He wants them to take care of themselves and rejuvenate. They are the center of His focus as he cares for them, both in His listening and in His desire that they rest.
But, when they try to get away, the crowd follows. Jesus sees the crowd following and we are told, His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Despite the need for rest, Jesus is not able to say “no” to the crowd. The literal meaning of “moved with pity” is closer to a gut-wrenching experience. That is the Good Shepherd in action, able to forget about Himself in order to reach out to the needs of others.
We are told Jesus “began to teach them many things.” The Shepherd was concerned about the sheep’s spiritual welfare. He gave them spiritual food. But, as we will hear next weekend, He also took care of their bodily hunger by multiplying the loaves and fishes. The Good Shepherd was tuned in enough to His sheep that He recognized and
addressed all their needs, spiritual and physical.
How am I a Good Shepherd to others, both physically and spiritually? Do I reach out to those who are isolated or lonely? Am I able to listen to someone who needs to talk? Do I support programs that feed the hungry? And so on.
The Good Shepherd wants to continue His work. He needs to do it through us. How well am I cooperating? God bless.
Church sign of the week: A heart is happiest when it is beating for others.