From the Pastor’s Desk; Today is the 4th Sunday of Easter, often called Good Shepherd Sunday because all four Gospels speak of Christ as shepherd, this year we hear from John’s Gospel. And on this Good Shepherd Sunday, we pray for all the shepherds who take care of their flocks, the shepherds in the fields and the shepherds in our churches. Those entrusted with the care of people as their primary mission, sometimes a real challenge in our changing world. I am grateful for the men who were my shepherds, the pastors I served with over the years, Frs. Art Harrison, Thomas Ahern, Matthew Sullivan, Richard Fry and Joe Milani. Each one of them brought their respective gifts and talents to the work of pastoral ministry in the parishes I served with them and other associate pastors. I admired each one for their diligence, attention to the people and their genuine care for others. None of them, including myself were saints, but their example gave me courage to continue, to persevere, to keep on going because some days it was not always so easy to minister with and for the people of God. In this Easter season we remember all those who shepherd us and pray that you will be generous in your support of the special Appeal for the Diocesan Priests Retirement Fund.
Second, we will celebrate First Eucharist next Sunday, April 29th at the 10:30 AM Mass. It is not so much that these seven young people “get to receive Jesus” for the first time as much as it is incorporating them into the body of Christ. Eucharist is something we do together, we share a common meal around the table, around the altar, in sharing that meal, the gift of Christ is to make us one in Christ, first in Baptism, then in and through the Eucharist.
We are Eucharist when we serve our brothers and sisters, listen to them as Jesus listened to the woman with the hemorrhage or the lepers who approached him for healing. We are Eucharist when we reach out to others, taking care of normal everyday tasks with a smile on our face and joy in our hearts. We are Eucharist when we do the little things with love, like Saint Teresa of Lisieux, the little flower. We are Eucharist when we strive for unity within our families, and within our community. Eucharist is an action of the faithful, not a thing we get, as much as an action of the faithful. “Jesus of Nazareth invites us to a banquet to be held in our honor,” unknown author.
Easter Blessings, Father Larry Hendel