Dear Parish Family of Holy Trinity,
May the Joy of Easter be with all of you!
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. It is a reminder that as much as God asks us to take care of His sheep (
see last week’s email
), He is also asking us to listen to His Son Jesus Christ. God is inviting us to follow and imitate Him because He is the Good Shepherd - our role model.
Have you ever wondered why God chose the lamb, sheep, and shepherd as symbols that will help us understand our Christian Journey? Now-a-days we are so removed from the actual experience of tending to livestock that learning in depth about them can open up wonderful mysteries about our Faith Journey.
The Gospel this past weekend
was very brief, but it highlights the reality that there are people who will follow Jesus and people who will not follow Him. If you were to mix-up several group of sheep each group belonging to a different shepherd. Each group of sheep would be able to recognize their respective shepherd and follow him/her. This example reflects the reality of our world today where some people will follow Jesus and other people will not be willing to change their ways to follow Him.
reminds us that even then, just as today, following Jesus and living a Christian life is a counter-culture proposition, which thanks to the
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
we can face confidently.
makes mention of lamb and shepherd too. The Apostle John describes a vision of a diverse multitude of people who survived a time of great distress and who stood worshiping before the Lamb wearing white robes that they have made white in the blood of the Lamb. This reading also mentions the promise that the Lamb will shepherd these people into springs of life-giving water where they will not hunger or thirst and where God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. This reading reveals a little of the mystery of ‘why’ the Apostles (and martyrs) acted with confidence every time they suffered for the sake of spreading the Good News.
Shepherds and lambs have been important for our Faith since the time of Cain and Abel. In Genesis, Abel became a keeper of flocks and sacrificed the firstling of his flock to God. The great King David was a shepherd. The first to learn about the birth of Jesus were the shepherds. In Exodus, God asked the Israelites to mark with the blood of a lamb the doors of their homes so that no harm will come to their first-born. The Lord later asks the Israelites to commemorate this event as the feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew), which requires scarifying a lamb. This feast is celebrated for thousands of years and later becomes the Last Supper of Jesus. And the events of the Last Supper of Supper, Passion (Sacrifice of the Lamb of God) and Resurrection become our new Pascal Mystery!
In our Faith Journey, sometimes we have to be sheep and sometimes shepherd and all the time both. We have to be like a lamb and follow the example of the Lamb of God; and we have to be like the Good Shepherd and tend to those around us to lead them to meet Jesus and develop a personal relationship with Him. This includes speaking and asking ourselves and our loved ones about considering a vocation to serve God as a Priest, Nun, Deacon, Lay Brother or Sister. Families now-a-days spend countless hours and resources to provide the best education for their children, but in the process leave out the importance of serving God or working for God. Most of us acknowledge that a vocation to serve God is important, but apparently not important enough to talk to our loved ones about it. If we really believe in Jesus and the Good News, wouldn’t we want to play an active part in the history of Salvation?
The seeds of a vocation to serve God are planted by God and cared for in the sanctity of the home. They are nurtured by praying together, by attending church and having fellowship as a family. As shepherds, our actions and attitude towards God at home speak louder than we can imagine. Every decision and action where we decide to put God or things of God in second place, is a decision that erodes the importance of God in the life of those who we are entrusted to care for.
Salvation and everlasting life await for all of us who allow the Lamb of God to become our Good Shepherd.
Together, let's pray for and encourage vocations.
On behalf of Fr. Reynold, Fr. John, Deacon Randy and our Staff, have a joyful Easter Season!
Director of Development