During the days of the Second Vatican Council, Pope St. John XXIII used to submit all his anxieties to God with this prayer every night: “Lord, Jesus, I’m going to bed. It's your Church. Take care of it!” We all know that we are safe at the presence of the Lord. Do we completely trust in him?
In the first reading, Prophet Zechariah consoles the Jews in their suffering and promising that their God who is meek and humble will come and establish peace. We see this same passage in the Gospel of Matthew 21:5, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem to suffer, die, and raised. His entry into the city such a way is to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah.
The second part of the Gospel for today is the heart of Jesus. Matthew (11:28) Jesus says "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” And “my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
This Gospel passage from Matthew is similar to Ben Sirach’s invitation to learn wisdom and submit to her yoke (Sir 51:23, 26).
Yoke does not sound good, it is a burden. Well, it turns out that sometimes farm animals will be unequally yoked. For training purposes, a farmer might yoke a bullock with an ox. The ox pulls the entire load while the bullock walks next to him. Once the bullock is trained, they share the burden. "My yoke," Jesus says, "is easy and my burden light." When we walk with Jesus in love, our burden will be easy. Walking together in love is not easy, it needs a rhythm. We need to learn from Jesus. It is a process, it is a journey to make.
Today’s Gospel passage starts with Jesus’ praise to the Father for he chose to reveal to the little ones. While the wise and the learned, the scribes and Pharisees have rejected Jesus’ teaching and significance of his mighty deeds, the childlike has accepted them. It is granted to those who are open to receive it.
Rectory roof project
Dear cluster parishioners,
We were planning to do a fundraising for the rectory roof. First, it was a plan to do fundraising in conjunction with the Feast of St. Anthony, which was June 13, but COVID-19 changed our life and it didn’t work out. We cannot do the way planned now, so we are still going to do a portion of fundraising. We will be mailing you the raffle tickets this week, please consider to participate and if you can make a donation towards it, please do so.
The rectory roof is the original roof and it contains asbestos, so we need licensed roofer for that, and we have bids from them and the total cost is $ 84,000.00. You will receive your raffle tickets early next week. Thank you in advance for your support of this project.
Congratulations to our Graduates!
Graduation Day! How exciting, with all their future before them. Graduation and its celebrations are a little different this year. This year we celebrate in a different way.
The word you hear the most from all of these people is the word success. They will want you to be successful in life. They want you to have a successful career. They want you to be someone they can be proud of. Your parents, your teachers, even your priest, will always want you to be successful. And that’s because all of us only want the best for you. So we define success in the best way possible: that you will have the best. Congratulations and all the best for the future.
A farmer, who went to a big city to see the sights, asked the hotel's clerk about the time of meals. "Breakfast is served from 7 to 11, dinner from 12 to 3, and supper from 6 to 8," explained the clerk. "Look here," inquired the farmer in surprise, "when am I going to get time to see the city?"
Hospitality was one of the great virtues of the Bible. The ancients believed that each person should be welcomed as though one were welcoming God himself. In our first reading, we see, in Elisha’s welcome by a childless woman who lived in Shunem. Shunem is located about 30 miles northeast of Samaria. It is a beautiful story of generosity and the love of God.
We don’t see a name for the women in Shunem, she showed Elisha reverence and hospitality by inviting him to dine with her and her husband and by allowing the prophet to occupy an upper room of her house. Later Elisha asked, "Can something be done for her?" His servant Gehazi, a name which means “valley of vision,” answered; "Yes! She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years." In response, Elisha said to the woman, "This time next year you will be fondling a baby son." You might remember a similar event in the Book of Genesis. Three men on a journey came upon Abraham’s tent. Abraham treated them with complete respect, welcoming them, and providing for their needs. In response, they promised him that his wife, Sara would have a baby within a year. She was inside the tent and heard this. Knowing that she was beyond childbearing years, she started laughing. But in a year, Abraham and Sarah had a baby they named Isaac, which means Child of Laughter.
The tenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew starts the commissioning the twelve. Then he instructs them. This weekend reading is concluding part of His instructions. Gospel of Matthew says, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…” Gospel of Luke (14:26) says “hate” father and mother; Luke actually says the same thing as Matthew.
Jesus uses the words; (10:37) "more than me" is literally "above me." The priority of faith demanded radical consequences for early Christians. Jesus reminded his followers that the Christian life involved such risks (a cross to carry in 10:38).
At the same time, Jesus stresses hospitality. He says, (10:40) "Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” In other words, whoever welcomed the other, welcomed Christ and his Father. Even in the smallest kindness, God rewarded the minister and the host equally.
Hospitality is more than just being good hosts, it all about encountering the presence of God in other people. The second reading, taken from Paul’s letter to the Romans, explains that in our Baptism, we have been baptized into Jesus’ death and buried with him, and we look forward to resurrection with him. Since Baptism is our way into this new life, it makes us part of the Body of Christ, and Christ is truly present in us. That is why the one who welcomes us welcomes Christ and becomes eligible for a reward.
Once I read a conversation between dad and son. It goes like this:
"Daddy, Daddy, can I have another glass of water please?"
"But I've given you 10 glasses of water already!"
"Yes, but the bedroom is still on fire!"
Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers! It is time to pause a moment, to pray for, and to reflect on our fathers whom we honor. On this Father's Day, let us remember our dads – living or dead – in a special way and offer on the altar of God during this Holy Mass, invoking our heavenly Father’s blessings on them. Today we celebrate, congratulate and pray for the men who continue to reflect the divine qualities of fatherhood. Fathers are a blessing and we thank them for blessing us with lives of dedication, endurance, and love. Happy Father’s Day!!
I would like to Congratulate Our First Communicant and Families! Our Children made their First Communion on Wednesday. This year it was different, but it was a precious time. Normally we do during the Sunday Mass, but we are keeping social distancing and limited seating, so we decided to do a separate Mass. I am sure all of you were praying for our children.
The reading for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time tells us do not to be afraid. We live in a time of anxiety, worries, and insecurity. COVID-19 a small virus that cannot be seen with our eyes has changed our lives and entire world. What is our security? The readings tell us our security is our Lord!
In the first reading, we see the Confession of Jeremiah. Jeremiah said: “I hear the whisperings of many: ‘Terror on every side!... But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion.” The terror and sorrow brought to Jeremiah despair, nevertheless, he trusted in the power of God.
In the Gospel, Jesus says to us do not be afraid. Some other time we talk about Fear God. Sometimes we can get confused. Do we have to be afraid of God? The Fear of God is out of love. It means that we should respect God, reverence God, and be more concerned with fulfilling the will of God.
Sometimes we are afraid that we will make the wrong decision. At other times we are afraid of what others will think when we speak up for Jesus. We are afraid of what the future will bring our children. We are also afraid of growing old. Sometimes we are afraid of what bad health will bring us. At present above all, we are afraid of COVID-19. At the root of these fears is the fear of loss. Every fear we have is grounded in the knowledge that we have something or someone to lose. Fear out of love helps us to take precautionary measures.
Fear is part of our life. But Jesus tells us that we should not be afraid. On the other hand, Jesus tells us to be afraid of the “one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” Basically Jesus is trying to tell us “Fear the Lord and do not be afraid of anything.”
Throughout the Bible, God tells “do not be afraid.” In Genesis 15:1, God said to Abram in a vision, “do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield…” Numbers 21:34, The Lord said to Moses, do not be afraid king Bashan, for I have given him into your hands… Jeremiah 1: 8, the Lord said to friend Jeremiah, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you…” Luke 1:30, the angel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
During Mass, the Priest says a beautiful prayer at the end of the “Our Father…” Deliver us, Lord; we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Then everybody responds: For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.
Fearing God is different from being afraid-Fear out of love. It is born from the knowledge of who God is-He is love.
One of the most famous theologian of the 20th century, Hans Urs von Balthasar says it this way: "When receiving the Eucharist each person must remember that he is falling into the arms of God like someone dying of hunger in the wilderness of this life."
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Body and Blood of Christ! Corpus Christi Sunday! This feast is the heart of our church, and the heart of the lives of each of us. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1322 says “The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." Most of the Sacraments take place in the Sacrament of Eucharist.
First Reading Moses recalls the difficulties they encountered on their journey through the desert to the Promised Land. Moses reminds them that God did more than see to their physical needs. To live we need more than bread and water. We need to experience communion with God. We need to realize that what we hunger for most is ‘every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (Deuteronomy 8:3).
In second readings St. Paul says, “The loaf of bread is one, we, though many are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” Here we see a great expression of the need to belong-communion with Christ - bound to so close to each other. Jesus gives us his flesh and blood, he gives us his very life, sacrifices everything for us.
In the Gospel of John Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (John 6:55-56).
Even though the Sacrament of the Eucharist instituted by Jesus Christ, we can see through out the Bible connecting passage to the Eucharist and priesthood. In the book of Genesis 14:18-20, Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem blesses Abraham and offers bread and wine. He prefigures Jesus, the Eternal Priest and King, who is going to offer bread and wine, sacrificing on the Cross.
In the book of Exodus chapter 24:8, at Mount, God establishes a covenant with Israel through Moses. He took the blood and threw it upon the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Jesus uses similar words at the Last Supper, offering himself and establishing the New Covenant. Again we read in the Book of Exodus 25: 8, “They are to make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst.” 25:30, “You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always.” We see again in the first book of Kings Chapter 7:48 the Bread of presence and Tabernacle in the Temple. Today’s Gospel reading from John, Jesus says, “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." (John 6:51). Jesus is inviting us to do the same.
I would like to share a story from my hospital ministry period. One Corpus Christi Sunday I was celebrating Mass in Hospital, a lady was sitting in a wheelchair in the center of the chapel. During the consecration, she started to cry. I made a conclusion in my mind that she might be in pain. After the Mass, I inquired her, how she was doing. She told me that it was not tears of pain, but it was tears of joy. She was suffering for a long time; she had thoughts of committing suicide from time to time, but her husband and children gave her the strength to live. She continued, she was thinking about your homily, visualizing Jesus broke and gave his life, and in reality, we are sending out to do the same. She said, her faith gave her the strength to live. She realizes that there is a purpose for her life. God needs her for her husband and children. She said, that day she felt her life is so meaningful.
Every Mass we gather together to celebrate Mass. We bring ourselves as we are to offer to God; with our joy and sorrows: our total life. We become one with Christ’s sacrifice. Then we are sent out to break and give our lives to one another. It is not easy, it is painful. But Jesus’ Body and Blood give us strength. Let us adore Jesus in Eucharist, and give thanks for many blessings.
A popular story of St. Augustine walking along the beach one day, taking a break from writing his treatise on the Trinity. The great scholar just couldn’t get his mind around this great mystery. While he was walking on the beach, he saw a little boy digging a hole in the sand, and then running to the ocean, filling up his hands with the seawater, running back to the hole, and emptying the water into the hole. Augustine watched the boy running back and forth several times. Finally, he said to the boy, “What are you doing?” The boy said, “Trying to fill that hole with the ocean.” And Augustine said, “You’ll never fit the ocean in that hole.” And the boy said, “Neither will you be able to fit the Trinity into your mind.”
We are celebrating the Solemnity of Most Holy Trinity. How can we know God: Trinity? It is a mystery, but Jesus makes it easier for us. Jesus talks repeatedly about the relationship of Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus says “Everything that the Father has is mine.” The Gospel of John, reading for the day says, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says, (28:19) “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” In the book of Genesis, we read (1:26), “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
If we look at the creation story, (Genesis 1:3) God the Father said, “Let there be…” Through Word, God created everything. Genesis 1:2, we read “the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters.” The Gospel of John will tell us, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him…”
The mystery of trinity tells about true love and unity. A family is a simple form of community, it grows into church, school, different organizations and it grows into a wider community. We are invited to live in a community of love. Our families become truly Christian when we live in a relationship of love with God and with others. We can call God ‘our Father’, Son Jesus ‘Immanuel’ and Holy Spirit ‘strength in our weakness.’
Let me close with this beautiful prayer, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
We all like to celebrate our birthdays. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. Pentecost is not a name but rather it is a number, means 50. It is the conclusion of 50 days of the Easter season. The Jews celebrated the feast of Pentecost fifty days after the Passover. Originally it was an agricultural harvest festival after the fifty days of Passover, as we read in the book Exodus chapter 34. Later they celebrated the giving of the law at Mount Sinai after fifty days of Passover. Now we celebrate the new Pentecost after the fifty days of Jesus' resurrection. When God came to Mount Sinai, there was fire and loud sound with a trumpet blast (Exodus 19:16-19). In the new Pentecost, there was mighty winds and tongues of fire come to over the apostles (Acts 2:1-4).
In the Book Joel 3:1& 2, we read, “Thus says the LORD: I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; even upon the servants and the handmaids, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.” In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter in his first speech after Pentecost quotes book of Joel and explaining about the coming Holy Spirit.
The Hebrew word RUAH means, breath, or wind. From the Book of Genesis onwards, we can see the presence of the Holy Spirit. Genesis 1:1-2 we see the Spirit's creative power were active present in the world. In Chapter 2:7 we see God blew into the nostril of Man the breath of life. In the Gospel of John 20:21 & 22, Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection and said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Throughout the Bible, God’s power, or spirit is bestowed on chanson individuals.
On Pentecost Sunday the Apostles proclaimed the Christian message, they presented the Gospel to people from all over the world yet were heard speaking in their own languages. The Greeks heard the message in Greek, the Persians in Farsi, the Romans in Latin, the Jews in Hebrew or Aramaic, etc. Although the people who heard the message were from all over, the message itself united them into one people. This was and is the work of the Holy Spirit, forming us into One Person, the Body of Christ.
We all received the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and Confirmation. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Anointing of the Holy Spirit takes place in us when we eagerly ask for it. Sometimes we may tempted to think, it is for the saintly people. It is a wrong concept. Anointing of the Holy Spirit is for all of us to grow in holiness. Jesus promised apostles an advocate, a helper. When they received the Holy Spirit, transformed their life, they got out of the fear, they got out of the walls of the upper room. They went out to the street and proclaimed the Good News.
Let us repeat Cardinal Newman’s favorite little prayer, “Come Holy Spirit:”
“Come Holy Spirit
Make our ears to hear
Make our eyes to see
Make our mouths to speak
Make our hearts to seek
Make our hands to reach out
And touch the world with your love. AMEN.”
There is a beautiful old story that tells of how Jesus, after His ascension into Heaven, was surrounded by the Holy Angels who began to enquire about his work on earth. Jesus told them about His birth, life, preaching, death, and resurrection, and how he had accomplished the salvation of the world. The angel Gabriel asked, “Well, now that you are back in Heaven, who will continue your work on earth?" Jesus said, "While I was on earth, I gathered a group of people around me who believed in me and loved me. They will continue to spread the Gospel and carry on the work of the Church.” Gabriel was perplexed. "You mean Peter, who denied you thrice and all the rest who ran away when you were crucified? You mean to tell us that you left them to carry on your work? And what will you do if this plan doesn't work?" Jesus said, "I have no other plan – it must work." Truly, Jesus has no other plan than to depend on the efforts of his followers! Jesus counts on you and me. Are we ready?
St. Augustine writes that Christ is our head and we are one with him. He says, “No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by union with us, and we by our union with him are sons of God.” He quotes the Apostles, “just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ.” Ascension invites us to reflect on our identity. Jesus, through his passion, death, and resurrection, opened up for a new pathway for relationship. He promised advocate, Holy Spirit to guide us and walk with us.
Sunday, May 24, 2020, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Distribution of Communion at St. Anthony!
Last Tuesday, all of the Pastors had a meeting with Bishop James Powers and talked about the distribution of Holy Communion in a responsible way. Sunday, May 24, 2020 we, Northwoods Catholic Communities will gather at St. Anthony for the reception of Holy Communion from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. I know there will be questions about the other two parishes (Immaculate Conception and St. Francis). It is very important to receive the Eucharist, at the same time we have to do it in a very responsible and safe way. We will start at St. Anthony for one or two weeks; it will be a learning time. Then slowly we can start the other two parishes too.
The idea is everyone watches Mass online or on TV and comes for Holy Communion in the afternoon. There will be a very short prayer service for immediate preparation to receive the Eucharist. After receiving the Eucharist, there will be a closing prayer, and then everyone is leaves the building. There won’t be any opportunity to stay in the Church and pray, because there is another group that will be coming in.
When you come into the building, please use the parking lot entrance. Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask. Hand sanitizers will be available at the entrance and exit doors. You are coming through the Parking Lot Entrance and leaving through the South Entrance.
If you have any symptoms, sickness, or a compromised immune system, we encourage staying home and watch Mass online or on TV and receive Spiritual Communion.
When you come to the parking lot entrance, there will be greeters at the parking lot entrance to give guidance and instruct you. We are gathering ONLY EIGHT PEOPLE at a time. The first eight people gather in the Church for the Communion Service. If we have more than eight people, one of the Deacons will do a second prayer service in the Padua Center. If we still have another group of eight people, a third prayer Service will take place at School Cafeteria. At the end of the prayer service at each location (Padua Center and Cafeteria), you are coming to the Church to receive Communion and leaving through the South Entrance. When you come to the church for Holy Communion, there will be only one line and each individual should keep six feet distancing. You can receive Communion only in the hands.
The prayer service is very short, 6 or 7 minutes, so we encourage everyone not to sit, or kneel down and not touch either. The doors will be wide open; so you can just walk in and out.
Saint Teresa of Avila, the 16th-century Spanish mystic, saw an angel rushing towards her, carrying a torch and a bucket of water. “Where are you going with that torch and bucket,” she asked; “what will you do with them?”
“With the water,” the angel answered, “I will put out the fires of hell, and with the fire, I will burn down the mansions of heaven; then we will see who really loves God.”
The angel’s point is that many people obey God’s commandments out of fear or hope of reward in heaven. But Jesus tells us, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” Jesus loves us, so he says; Father will give us an Advocate in his name.
This weekend supposed to have Confirmation. Because of our present situation, it is postponed. Today’s readings speak about joy. There is the joy that new Christians in Samaria had after Philip baptized them. There is the joy that St. Peter tells us is the reason for our hope. There is the joy that Jesus says comes from the Love of the Father. Jesus says Father will give you the Holy Spirit, the animating power of love.
The first reading Philip perched the Good News to people of Samaria and Peter and John went there to give baptism and laying hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Peter’s the first letter to the Church explains how the Holy Spirit makes possible God-fearing lives in the midst of opposition and persecution. Peter encourages the Christians in the midst of persecution in the second reading.
Jesus made a long farewell speech at the Last Supper. Today’s Gospel reading is part of the long "Farewell Discourse." Jesus assures his disciples that they will not be left as orphans. Like the Good counselor He is, the Holy Spirit enables us to become stronger. The Holy Spirit comes to our aid and gives us the strength to make difficult and painful decisions. The Holy Spirit actually lives in us, and we hear the voice of the Spirit, counseling, and guiding us in the way of truth. Let us open our minds and hearts to hear Him and to obey His promptings.
Let us pray for our Confirmation Candidates, their sponsors, and families. Let us also pray for our graduates.
Happy Mother’s Day! One of my favorite Spanish proverbs: "An ounce of mother is better than a pound of clergy." The word “mom” is synonymous with sacrificial love in its purest form as given by Jesus in his farewell speech: love one another as I have loved you. Mothers leave their legacy with us. They live in and through us.
On Mother’s Day let us Christians, acknowledge the truth that we have two mothers: our earthly mother and our heavenly mother, Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Catholic Church proclaims the great nobility of the mother of Jesus, Mary most holy, and presents her as the supreme model for all mothers. She born into humble surroundings, she was called by God to be the mother of the Son of God. She affirmed her obedience to the call of God and lived out her vocation throughout her entire life. Mary, the mother of Jesus, our Blessed Mother, is the true model of motherhood.
An Indian poet says in his one of the poems, mother never dies. He says mother gives her blood to her children when they are in the womb, and when they are born through breastfeeding those mothers share their life. Mothers live through their children. We pray on this Mothers’ Day, for all our mothers, whether they are alive or have gone to their eternal reward. Let us thank God for all mothers and offer them at the altar. Happy Mather’s Day!
Today, in the Gospel, Jesus gives us a big picture. He begins and ends this short teaching at the Last Supper with the need to have faith. There is an incident from St. John Chrysostom’s life. When he was summoned before the Roman emperor Arcadius and threatened with banishment, he replied, “You cannot banish me, for the world is my Father’s house.” “Then I will kill you,” exclaimed the emperor angrily. “No, you cannot,” retorted Chrysostom, “because my life is hidden with Christ in God.” “Your treasures shall be confiscated,” the emperor replied grimly. “Sir, you can’t do that because my treasures are in heaven as my heart is there.” “I will drive you from your people and you shall have no friends left,” threatened the emperor. “That you cannot do either, Sir, for I have a Friend in heaven who has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’” In today’s gospel Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life gives us the same assurance. “In my Father's house, there are many dwelling places. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”
In the Gospel, we see Philip and Thomas ask questions. They are searching for answers. They want God in their lives. In the first reading, the Twelve try to find more time for prayer and proclaiming the Word of God. They need to be with God and share the Good News.
Do we seek God? Do we spend time with God? We need to make a prayer schedule, and we need to keep it. Jesus says, “In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places…I am the way and the truth and the life.” He is the true way to the Father; he is the fullness of truth and fullness of life, life eternal.
Good Shepherd Sunday! The month of May, the month of Mary!
The fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday and it is the “World Day of Prayer for Vocations.” The scripture lessons for this weekend is about the role of the shepherd. Each year, this Sunday we reflect on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who devotedly and kindly takes care of his flock.
In his book, The Holy Land, John Kellman describes a field pen. It consists of a circular stone wall about four feet high with an opening in it. Kellman says that one-day a Holy Land tourist saw a field pen near Hebron. He asked a shepherd sitting nearby, “where’s the gate for your pen?” The shepherd said, “I am the gate.”
The shepherd then told the tourist how he herded his flock into the pen each night. Then he lay down across the narrow entrance. No sheep could leave the pen, and no wild animal could enter it, without stepping on his body.
Jesus is our shepherd, who lays down his life for us, to give us new life and He is with us. He broke the bread and said to his disciples, this is My Body, take, and eat it. Jesus tells us the same, “This is My Body.” We are fed at this table and send out shepherd in our daily life. We are called to do the same, to break us and give to others.
We can see the image of shepherd throughout the Bible. In the book of the prophet Jeremiah chapter 23, we see the contrast between the good shepherd and false shepherd. The Lord says, “I will raise up a righteous branch for David; as king, he shall reign and govern wisely.” This weekend we have responsorial psalm 23. This psalm tells us that our God is a loving and caring God, he is with us.
Today is the Good Shepherd Sunday and “World Day of Prayer for Vocations.” Let us pray for Pope Francis, he shepherds our church. Let us pray for Bishop of our diocese James Powers, all the priests, religious, deacons, seminarians. Let us also pray for all those who are like a shepherd in our life.
The month of May is dedicated to Mary. The Catholic Church proclaims the great nobility of the mother of Jesus, Mary most holy, and presents her as the supreme model for all mothers. She was born into humble surroundings, she was called by God to be the mother of the Son of God. She affirmed her obedience to the call of God, and lived out her vocation throughout her entire life. Mary, the mother of Jesus, our Blessed Mother is the true model of motherhood.
Our nation is consecrated to Mary. As we continue to face the ongoing effects of the pandemic of the coronavirus, the president of USSCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez has announced that the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 1 in renewing the consecration of the two nations to the care of our Blessed Mother. When you read this bulletin, we might have passed the time of consecration. We will be joining with Archbishop José H. Gomez and other Bishop to renew the consecration on May 1st at 2 p.m. central time. Let us continue to ask the intercession of our Mother for our life, especially this time of great need.