Jesus with a sheep, Consider this, the sheepfold

The readings for this weekend (including the daily reading on Monday) lend itself to being known as Good Shepherd Sunday. Some of the characteristics of the Good Shepherd: he lays down his life for the sheep; he is the gate setting good boundaries and providing protection against the many dangers we face; he knows his sheep through and through and is able to call them by name; he leads them to good pasture so that they may do more than survive but indeed have abundant life. For my part, I am trying to emulate the Good Shepherd in my own priesthood and pastoring of the flock entrusted to me. Of course, we are all trying to follow the example of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, in our lives as disciples. 

In addition to the many challenges we face personally and collectively as a society, you know there are also other changes coming to us in the ongoing resolution of Diocesan Bankruptcy and with the Road to Renewal. Jesus says that a hired hand runs away from the wolves. You know that I have asked to stay in our family of parishes going forward because I believe St. Mary’s deserves some stability in its pastoring here, but you have also been incredibly resilient and moreover vibrant throughout the many transitions we’ve faced. Give yourselves a lot of credit. There are so many good things happening here and that’s in large part because of you and your faithfulness to the Lord. I am so thankful and am blessed to be among you. Let’s continue to keep our focus on Jesus the Good Shepherd, who leads us all to good pastures. 

There is a recognition furthermore in the Gospel that Jesus has “other sheep that do not belong to this fold.” Soon our flock will be growing and getting bigger as we move into our family of parishes together with St. Teresa, Nativity, and Our Lady of Peace. I am going to love the people of St. Teresa’s, Our Lady of Peace and Nativity as my own, and I am going to be spending more time with them and perhaps less with you as a result. It doesn’t mean that I love you less or am any less proud to be your spiritual father. I can remember my Dad having this conversation with my 8-year old self as my sister was about to be born. This is part of life. We are just beginning to
get some of the practical information regarding the next steps for the Renewal and I will be sharing what I can with you throughout the process. Whatever is in store, everything that we go through, we’ll go through together as flock and shepherd. Jesus reminds us that there will be one flock and one shepherd – we must always remember that we are all God’s people and that it is he who ultimately takes care of us.


~Fr. Luke

P.S. Some quick updates for upcoming events: Our May Crowning will be next weekend before the 9:30 am Mass on May 7
th – we’ll begin at 9:15 am at the statue of Mary in the back-parking lot! The golf tournament is coming up, and signups for foursomes are due this Monday! Pray for our Confirmation Students who will be confirmed this Friday!