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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Friday, May 13, 2011

May 15th - Good Shepherd Sunday

-last week's homily is not easily found by some. Here is the link
-the Scriptures for Sunday are at>
-I am preaching at 4:00, 8:00, and 9:30 Masses

The Gate

On a Sunday which is typically celebrated as "priesthood Sunday" or World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the image of Jesus as the gate captured my attention. The most revolutionary thought I might have is that Jesus is NOT gate or door as we imagine these barriers. Even the Pearly Gate is imagined as a barrier.

Jesus is gate or door in the sense of "way" - thus "gateway" or "doorway". This is in contrast to the Pharisees who, in just the previous scene, have "barred" the man born blind from the synagogue. Rather than gateway or shepherd, the Pharisee is barrier and bouncer.

So, as was the sheep guarding practice of ancient palestine, Jesus lies in the gateway, making himself the principal path, the way, the conduit, the viaduct between sheepfold and green pastures of life (read: ourselves and the life-giving springs of communion).

Jesus Christ as sheep gate, priest, and lamb of sacrifice has placed himself between (mediatrix) God and humanity, reconciling us to the Father IN Himself. Priesthood is mediation! His priesthood lasts forever and he shares that priestly mission with the baptized, but in a special way with our consecrated priests. It is a noble goal and a humbling privilege to lay down one's life in the church as the gateway of grace, salvation, and reconciliation so that others (Jesus and souls) might traverse upon us - ecclesial doormats. The priesthood is encounter place, the way, the rendezvous for Jesus and souls. Thank God for priests.

It is of course a sad and serious temptation to assume that priestly position as pathway and usher of grace and then turn it into a barrier or become a bouncer in an material human reality called church! Ouch, Pharisee. Have mercy on us.

So, passing through the gate of grace and reconciliation is not a one-time is a perpetual care plan. Priesthood( of Jesus and in the ordained office) is the role and function of mediation. For our souls must constantly and continuously enter into unity with Jesus as a way of walking through the gate. Be united with Christ and in Him pass through to communion in eternal life! There is no other way!


Joyfuralle said...

Found last week's homily at


Short but sweet, Father . . . I'm sure you will lengthen it, ha-ha! Grace NOT a one-time event, for sure. And I'm finding the longer I live, "admittance to grace" is DAILY!!! I know I'm not imagining this, but it's rare for me to know people who realize that "they might have life and have it more abundantly". Maybe people don't know what "life abundantly is!!! I know I didn't used to know! Making the transition from God as an idea to a person to living within me took time. Why so much time? Looooooong time! I guess it's easier to live with the feel-good idea of Jesus as Good Shepherd, out there, than a spouse with shared intimacy.

anon 1 said...

“For our souls must constantly and continuously enter into unity with Jesus as a way of walking through the gate.” This line from the Matador really made an impact on me as I read the Scripture for this week. I was struck in the first reading with Peter’s audience wondering in dismay what to do when they realized the error of their ways. You could almost hear them saying “We really have made a grave mistake – and now it’s too late.” But instead Peter explains a way out – it’s not too late – repent and be baptized. In the Matador’s description of the role of the ordained priest we see the path we can take so as to heed Peter’s advice – it’s the “perpetual care plan.” It’s not a one-time event – this is the work of a lifetime, for the reward of eternity – and our priests do their part in helping to make this way accessible. Yes indeed, “thank God for priests.”

Anonymous said...

The Lord is my Sheppard. It is comforting to know that He is there, protecting me, if I should begin to stray and safe from harm outside. Thinking of this helps me to understand how to trust Him in a more complete way.

It’s not an earthly thing when one’s life is in hidden in Christ. It is only by His grace alone that one can even try to live here with or in desire for non-preferential, unconditional Love... dependent on His care, His guidance and according to His will - there is so much freedom in that. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy or comfortable, but if you keep your eyes on the Sheppard, (that’s the challenge) life really is an adventure.

I am grateful, and keep in my prayers, all our Priests who have indeed laid down their earthly lives for God’s plan. Let’s pray for all priests as they blaze their own God given trail helping us to Holiness.