This is the weekend that we traditionally refer to as “Good Shepherd” Sunday, recognizing Christ as our Good Shepherd who leads the flock (that’s all of us). Emphasis was always given to those in ordained ministry (priests and deacons) and those in Religious Life (Sisters and Brothers). However, our focus needs to be broader to include all of you, who certainly outnumber all of us, in the flock that we know as the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI shared in acknowledging this broader focus when he inspired both clergy and laity when he said: “Every person carries within him or herself a project of God, a personal vocation, a personal idea of God in what he or she is required to do in history to build His church. And the priests role is above all to reawaken this awareness, to help the individual discover his or her personal vocation for each one of us (03/25/2007).
In these few lines Pope Benedict gives me, and other priests and deacons, the responsibility to re-awaken all of you to the fact that God’s church needs you to be involved in her life and ministry. To add to this, I always need more of you to get involved in our parish, however you can. Since my arrival, almost three years ago as your shepherd, I have been encouraging more of you to step up and get involved. Each year, at “Stewardship Weekend”, we do get more of you involved, but you have to take that first step by asking me: “how can I contribute my talents and get involved?” Everyone has talents, but not everyone shares them. Don’t be one of them who hold back, please don’t!
True parish communities are a mix of different people doing different things with one common purpose. Our purpose is to be the Body of Christ as seen in our vibrant parish. Psalm 100, reminds us that: “We are His people, the sheep of His flock.” A shepherd without sheep is unemployed, sheep without a shepherd are lost. We are neither! We know He is our shepherd and He knows we are His sheep. Stay close to Him, and one another, and then you can pray Psalm 23 with gusto: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” But sometimes my prayer is: “I am one of the Lord’s shepherds, but please send me more working sheep.”