Last Tuesday would have been Confirmation and this Sunday would have been First Communion. I feel badly for our children and young adults who need to wait for these sacraments, but I look forward to celebrating them with you, hopefully not in the too distant future.
I meant to put this paragraph in The Invitation letter I wrote for this week, but I forgot. On behalf of our community, I thank our staff members who continue to work diligently in their ministries: Dean Weyer, who stays on top of our finances and facilities; Kathy Wellenstein, who continues to make sure we have inspiring liturgies in an uplifting environment; Terese Neureuther, who keeps all our communications going; Neil Krumenauer, who keeps our plant clean and functioning; Lori Suarez and the school staff, who continue to educate our children virtually; and Sarah Daszczuk and Samantha El-Azem, who engage our children in religious education through various methods. Thank you for your continued dedication to your ministry.
This fourth Sunday of Easter is called Good Shepherd Sunday, because the readings present Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
When, as good Christians, we hear “Good Shepherd,” we automatically think of Jesus, who IS our Good Shepherd. He became one of us to show us how to live, to protect us from evil, to bring us back when we stray, and so on. He even gave His life for us.
But any Good Shepherd story has TWO characters: the shepherd and the sheep. It is helpful for us to reflect on ourselves in each of those roles.
Sheep: how am I as a sheep? Do I listen to the Shepherd? Do I let the Shepherd form my values and guide my actions? In what ways am I a good sheep and need to continue what I am doing? In what ways might I be the straying sheep who needs to be led back?
Good shepherd: often our Good Shepherd brings about His shepherding by using us. How open am I to being a good shepherd to others? When others look at me, do they see actions and values that are consistent with those of the Good Shepherd? Am I willing to inconvenience myself to be a good shepherd to others?
I invite us to reflect this week on how we are as sheep and shepherd.
May is the month of Mary, our mother. Let us pray to her in a special way this month that our Church and world can return to a new normal which better incorporates Gospel values, as we move forward toward the Kingdom.