Por Blanca Ahumada Otero
A couple of weeks ago on Divine Mercy Sunday I preached on a complicated and difficult subject: indulgences—important during this time of pandemic. Despite the complexity of the topic I was very pleased that several people wrote to say it was helpful, and even consoling. Nonetheless, I looked forward to preaching today: Good Shepherd Sunday. It’s a wonderful day to preach and, quite frankly, not usually difficult. Some years I have spoken about Jesus the Good Shepherd. Jesus, whom St. Peter calls today “the shepherd and guardian of our souls.”The Lord, our Shepherd – I’ve often talked about that. But on this day I’ve also talked about what it is to be a pastor, because, of course, that’s just the Latin word for shepherd.In the book of the Prophet Jeremiah God promises to give his people “shepherds after His own heart”. And every priest seeks to be a shepherd after the heart of the Good Shepherd. That’s something else I have spoken about on this Sunday. And, of course, I have talked about vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life so that we might recognize the importance of shepherds in the Church.I’ve done all of these things. But today, for the first time, something else about Good Shepherd Sunday was unavoidable for me. Today my thoughts turned completely, immediately, not to the Good Shepherd, not to pastors but to the flock: I don’t think I’ve ever before thought on this day about the flock. About the decision, for such it was, of our Lord Jesus to gather his followers into a flock.He didn’t have to do that. It could have been one-on-one. We’ve all of us met people who say “I don’t go to church; I can hike and speak directly to God.” And so we can, and so we do—but not as a substitute for going to church.Now there are many reasons to go to church, of course. Primarily to break the bread, to receive the Eucharist. But again, why could this not be done in the home, as the Jewish people celebrate their Seder? As they celebrate their Sabbath service? In the home. Why not? Because Jesus chose to make of us a flock. Individuals? Certainly: sheep and lambs. But gathered in community.I don’t know why this hasn’t grabbed hold of me before on Good Shepherd Sunday, but I sure know now—because we are the opposite of that verse in the Bible that says “they are like sheep without a shepherd.” We are shepherds without sheep.The absence of the congregation is a deeply painful thing. But at the same time today it’s a beautiful thing because it is a reminder today of what a wonderful thing it is to be a community.To miss you all is to deepen my understanding of the dynamics of the Church as intended by Christ. We are meant to be together and even this live-streamed Mass is intended to remind us that we are one flock with one Shepherd.Of course universally. Of course within that portion of the people of God we call the Archdiocese. But also here in this parish family. A flock: tended by Christ; cared for by Christ; but united with one another in love.
“A number of words come to my mind today as I reflect on my own vocation story – gratitude, encouragement, unworthiness, trust, and openness.” – Archbishop Eamon Martin
On this Sunday seven years ago I was ordained as a bishop here in this beautiful Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Armagh. It was a day of great joy and celebration for me and for my family and friends – surrounded by the people, religious and priests of the Archdiocese of Armagh. I prayed that day that God would help me, in my life as a bishop to be like the Good Shepherd – I’m still trying, and still praying!
The Cathedral is empty this morning – social distancing is still keeping us physically apart, but I know that despite the restrictions we, the sheep of God’s flock, continue to be linked spiritually in this new kind of community and communion.
A Filipino Augustinian missionary in Spain has passed away due to complications from the coronavirus, CBCP News reported on May 2, 2020.
Father Gilbert Luis Centina III, an award-winning author, and poet died in the city of León in northwest Spain on May 1. He was 72.
Centina formerly belongs to the Spanish Augustinian Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Philippines before he was assigned to different missions abroad.
Homily We need to commit to being healthy. How can you be physically healthy, emotionally healthy, and financially healthy?
Commit to being healthy in all areas of your life. Commit to what God is inspiring you to do. Commit to using the gifts God has given you.
Incorporate that in your daily schedule!
Homily “Even now, the Lord is my shepherd.”
News Item When the Companions learned public Masses would be suspended, “we assembled a team from the parish council, the leadership team and a few key parishioners, one of whom works for Google,” said Fr. Jim Lowe, CC, administrator of St. Scholastica. “We felt he’d be a good person to have on the team.”