Reflections from Fr. Dennis

Jesus is risen! We are regularly challenged to preach and witness. This Sunday’s gospel tells us we have a shepherd who opens the gate for us to enter his kingdom! Jesus is the gate keeper because he has accomplished what he has come to do: bring us salvation.

What makes him a good shepherd is his laying down his life for the sheep. The command Jesus “received from the Father” ~ to lay down his life ~ is also our command. When we lay down our life, as Jesus did, then we come to new life, as Jesus did. The way of the shepherd must be the way of the sheep.

Today’s gospel also spells out for us how we are to lay down our life: by leading, protecting, guiding, knowing, and loving. Our Christian living is about relating to others as the Father and Good Shepherd have related to us.

See what love the Father has bestowed on us: in Jesus, God knows us as intimately as God knows Jesus. As we grow in this love, we hear his voice, become one flock, and follow where he leads. Jesus shows us his great love for us by laying down his own life for us! We have a hard time believing that we can truly love each other with any kind of permanence, let alone believe that God loves us everlastingly. Yet, the whole Easter mystery is directed at telling us how much we are loved, how faithful God is in that love, and how far God goes to show us that love.

There is a twist, though. Jesus didn’t save us from the hard work of the gospel. Salvation has two sides: both dying to self and rising to new life in Christ.

 

 

A Mother’s Day Prayer

 

God of Love, listen to this prayer.
God of Holy People, of Sarah, Ruth and Rebekah;
God of holy Elizabeth, mother of John, of Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus,
bend down Your ear to this request.

Bless our mothers with the strength of Your Spirit,
            she who has taught her child/children how to stand and how to walk.
Bless our mothers with the melody of Your love,
            she who has shared how to speak, how to sing and how to pray to You.
Bless our mothers with a place at Your eternal dinner table,
            she who has fed and nurtured the life that was formed within her
            while still helpless but embraced in her love.
Bless our mothers today, now, in this lifetime, with good things, with health.
Bless our mothers with joy, love, laughter, and pride in her child/children
            and surround her with many good friends.
May she who carried life in her womb be carried one day to Your divine embrace;
            there, for all eternity, to rejoice with her family and friends.

This blessing and all graces we pray, descend upon our mothers this day.

Happy Mother’s Day!