Sunday, April 22, 2018

“It takes some of us a lifetime to learn that Christ, our Good Shepherd, knows exactly what He is doing with us. - He understands us perfectly.”


“He shall gather the lambs with his arm.” —Isaiah: was the 8th-century BC Jewish prophet

Gospel Text:(JN 10:11-18)

Jesus said:
"I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father."

We do not like to think of ourselves as dumb, submissive animals. We are sophisticated human beings. We have an intellect and a free will, we go where we will and do what we want. And we don’t like sheep dogs yapping and snapping at our feet. But perhaps we are more like sheep than we care to admit. Just like sheep we seem to be oblivious of everything except the plot of grass that surrounds us here and now. We spend all of our time feathering this little nest here as if it will go on forever. Just like sheep we are not conscious of the ravenous wolves that surround us in the counter-culture in which we live. To say nothing of the wolves that come to us in sheep’s clothing. And just like sheep we always think that the grass is greener on the other side, so we stray from the flock. Whether we appreciate it or not, the image of the Good Shepherd and his sheep is enshrined forever in the Bible and in Christianity. And in reality and truth it fits every generation, even our own.

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.” (John 10: 27) We should have a quiet time each day. Turn off the radio, TV, internet, cell phone, put everything on the back burner and learn to recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd. What a great blessing it is to be able to recognize the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and to follow him with great joy and confidence wherever he may lead us.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The question isn't were you challenged. The question is were you changed?


If conversion makes no improvements in a man's outward actions then I think his 'conversion' was largely imaginary. - C. S. Lewis: (1898 – 1963: was a British novelist, poet, & academic)

Scripture Text:(ACTS 9:1-20)
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,
went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,
if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,
a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He said, "Who are you, sir?"
The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,
for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground,
but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;
so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.
For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,
and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias."
He answered, "Here I am, Lord."
The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight
and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.
He is there praying,
and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias
come in and lay his hands on him,
that he may regain his sight."
But Ananias replied,
"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,
what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.
And here he has authority from the chief priests
to imprison all who call upon your name."
But the Lord said to him,
"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine
to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,
and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name."
So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God.

Saul’s life was opened to Jesus in a dramatic way, but that does not have to happen with us. As Jesus says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” When we receive the Eucharist, we are being opened to Jesus in a special way. We can open ourselves to Jesus by studying the Word. We can open ourselves to Him by opening ourselves to each other. Even the faithful disciple Ananias had to trust in Jesus and reach out to Saul.


When we trust in the love of the risen Lord, we begin to see more and more, until the time when we are with Jesus and can see Him “face to face.”

Thursday, April 19, 2018

"Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you - for you alone?


"The Blessed Sacrament is indeed the stimulus for us all, for me as it should be for you, to forsake all worldly ambitions. Without the constant presence of our Divine Master upon the altar in my poor chapels, I never could have persevered casting my lot with the lepers of Molokai; the foreseen consequence of which begins now to appear on my skin, and is felt throughout the body. Holy Communion being the daily bread of a priest, I feel myself happy, well pleased, and resigned in the rather exceptional circumstances in which it has pleased Divine Providence to put me."- Blessed Fr. Damien, Apostle of the Lepers

Gospel text: (JN 6:44-51)
Jesus said to the crowds:
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:

They shall all be taught by God.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world."


Society has a tremendous influence on how we think and on our actions. It’s easy to be convinced that a “no-carb diet” is the way to good health. Just the same, it is easy to be convinced that the way to happiness and peace is through material goods and actions that are counter to the “consumption” of Jesus. Jesus is the bread of life. To consume him means that we are fully nourished, happy and healthy.