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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!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Feed My Sheep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 4:00 Saturday and 8:00 AM and 12:30 PM Sunday

The lost sheep

In the context of this year of faith and the call to the new evangelization my thoughts have turned to feeding and tending the sheep, as Jesus commanded Peter, in regards to those who are currently"Lost".

Pope Francis has recalled for all of us the need to offer tender care, like St. Peter, for the sake of the love of Christ. I am thinking about all the Catholics who are baptized and registered in our parish alone who do not join us for Sunday Eucharist. I recently asked a group of parishioners as to why those 75% do not participate. The answers were varied.

We concluded that all of those who do not participate have received a message from the church that there is something "wrong" with them. Lapsed, fallen away, bad marriages, same-sex orientation, Contracepting, divorced, addicted, Or just for having a "mortal sin" for having missed mass.

Our message to them is that there is something wrong or irregular about them and that they ought to get their life right with Jesus and come back to church. I am not convinced that such a message is "tending or feeding the lambs". We need another message that precedes the current message. The message that they need to hear is Peter's answer to Jesus in today's Gospel, "Lord you know everything, you know that I love you."

How might the ministry of our parish church and our individual lives of faith express to our neighbors and the world that "Jesus knows everything and that we love Jesus?" Let's work on that and I believe we will begin to tend to the lambs and feed all the sheep So much more effectively


JoyFuralle said...

Having a hard time relating to the conclusion as that was not my experience when I dropped out of Church. I dropped out at 19 cuz it seemed like it didn't matter if I was there or not. I was attending, not knowing what Mass was or what faith was for or about. Coming weekly, I would try to connect to people, say hello, start up conversation, and it was if I did not exist. I stopped coming...poor lost lambie... so sad...for all of us!

What you say is right on target as far as how to tend the lambies, feed the sheep...inside the Church or outside the Church. Yes!

BUT (or maybe AND), my heart says we should extend ourselves more, those of us who have been given much... doesn't scripture say much will be required of the person entrusted with much?

anon 1 said...

I do agree that the answer to the Mass attendance problem lies somewhere in the “loving”. Not only people needing to see that we love Jesus – and that we love THEM through, with, and in Him, but that the Mass itself is about loving. We see the love of the Trinity on display there, we in turn are caught up in it, and then we are sent out with that love to spread it around to all we meet! But I don’t think everyone sees it that way – so they don’t even know what they’re missing. I like the Matador’s idea of starting our focus there – starting with living out our love for Jesus through our own acts of kindness and mercy to others, living healthy and full lives of prayer, and using our resources in a way that show our priority in life to be that of building the Kingdom – and I think the lambs and sheep will recognize the place to which they really belong.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful thoughts Father.

Every morning I pray to our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ to bring our little lambs back home. Each morning as I receive Him in the Eucharist I ask Him to bring back our lost lambs and further, for our lambs to accept His gift of daily Mass and Communion with Him.

The prayer is very intimate as I feel the gentleness of Christ's love present in the Eucharist holding the "lost" ones close to His bosom; calling them with His most precious love for them.

May all of us pray, pray, pray for our lambs as this does so much for those astray; feeding them with the sustenance we ourselves are so blessed to receive in His most precious gift of the Holy Eucharist.

God Bless you Shepherd as you continue to feed and guide your lambs so beautifully as you do.


Peg said...

Sometimes I think the idea of church is daunting, with its ritual and pageantry. I remember the first time I walked into St. Alberts for Mass and all the people were in place. Even though there were lots of places to sit, I wasn't sure I was taking someone's regular seat and I didn't want to call attention to myself. It was hard to blend in and being away for so long, I wasn't familiar with some of the responses. Of course now I feel pretty much at home. I think that in keeping with the spirit of "hearts on fire" we should/could have more contact with our own people of N. Royalton whether they are members of St. Albert the Great or not. How about having a day where we do random acts of kindness on a particular street. Rake leaves or mow grass or just leave a vase of flowers or bakery on someones doorstep. Find out if someone has a particular need that we could help with or offer just a kind hello. We all have a story to share. If we reach out to others as a community we will attain wonderful things. God will handle the rest.

Jim said...

Well said. It is much easier to feed the sheep when we are kind and loving. If we love Jesus than we love all his sheep.

It will take a while, but with continual acts of kindness and care for each other, the word will spread that we are a loving, Faith Community.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a stretch to say that ALL who don't participate received a message that they weren't welcome because something was wrong with them.

It could be because they didn't feel engaged, because we failed to connect the church's liturgy (because it is about that if we're talking Sunday Mass) with their daily lives, because we have failed to proclaim the Gospel in word and in deed or because they don 't see the relevance of the Gospel, or they don't find it meaningful...or they could care less.

Too, we must have a broader vision of feeding lambs and sheep and tending sheep. The sheep are not just those within the fold (and by this I mean the baptized, whether they are coming to Mass or not). The lambs and sheep are all of humanity, made in the image and likeness of God. It is a bigger love that we are called to than just those we know to be missing from our pews.

Anonymous said...

It's all about understanding. I think many of those who have left the Church would agree that they don't understand many of Her teachings and rituals. In many cases this is likely through no fault of their own, but rather poor Catechesis or perhaps just not sufficient opportunities to better understand and study their faith. We must show them that Christ loves them, and longs for their return, and that the only sin which will not be forgiven is that for which we don't ask forgiveness (Matthew 12:31). Some of the Church's more "difficult" teachings (such as contraception, or homosexuality) may appear burdensome or condemning. However, upon deeper study we discover the beautiful wisdom they impart, further revealing God's loving plan for us.

We must show extreme love to our brothers and sisters who have left the Church. Through this love we must help them to deepen their understanding of God's love manifest in the Church and Her teachings. With the wisdom of the Holy Spirit we can see the countless blessings God has poured out upon His Church. Without this understanding the Church seems empty and meaningless.