Jesus refers to himself in this Sunday's gospel as "the Good Shepherd" who lays down his life for his sheep (Jn 10:11). Who are his sheep? He tells his listeners that he has other sheep outside of Israel that he also must tend to, "and there will be one flock, one shepherd" (Jn 10:16). In my minute homily this week, I visit the barnyard to demonstrate the fact that sheep come in all colors and sizes, just like people, and whether our "fleece" is white, black or brown, we are all invited to be part of Jesus' one flock. (I also discover that barnyards can be noisy places!)
The word Catholic means "universal" and we give this name to the Church because Christ's salvation is truly for members of every race, tribe and nation. The Church is also universal in scope, in the sense that the light of God's truth shines on every aspect of our lives. I was reminded of the universality of the Church this week by a few things that came across my desk dealing with different cultural expressions of our faith and what our faith brings to bear on the subjects as wide ranging as ghost stories and artificial intelligence. You'll find these items linked to below in the online resources listings.
Finally, this past week we celebrated Earth Day, which serves as a reminder to us all of our duty to be good stewards of God's creation. What is the relationship between the Catholic Church and environmentalism? Pope Francis offers some wisdom on this question in his encyclical letter, Laudato Si, which I talk about in this Earth Day blog post.