4th Sunday of Easter Musings

I went to Mass yesterday at 4 PM for those of you who may not have gotten that last week. Our son assists with our AV equipment. Our church has these big screens where we display the words to songs and make sure that everyone can see the lectors, cantor, and priests. Some really like this, some don’t. Technology in the church…different topic for a different time.

Our assistant pastor, Fr. J.P. Morgan (yes he’s Irish) had the honors of giving the sermon. He began talking about the old western films and how there were always pioneers and settlers.

At first I didn’t follow his line of thinking, but I think I have it now. Paul and Barnabas were pioneers bringing their brand of faith to the settlers. Some of the pioneers could be a rowdy, misbehaving lot and not necessarily welcome in the town. Paul and Barnabas appeared to be trouble makers, stirring things up at the local temple. In stepped the sheriff, the Jewish Sandhedrin, and chased them out of town. Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from their sandals and headed out for more welcoming territories which they found among the Gentiles (that would be us!). The really awesome part is that they were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit as they went along.

As we get into the second reading and the gospel we see that Jesus was also a pioneer, but not just any pioneer, he was a shepherd. I think that perhaps I’ve heard this before, but Fr. J.P. pointed out that shepherds were not your high class citizens of the day. A shepherd had no home, they wandered from place to place always looking for grazing land. This also makes me think about those westerns and how much trouble there always was between the cattle and the sheep ranchers. Real men didn’t eat mutton! Once again, Jesus aligns himself with the lowest of the low by calling himself our Good Shepherd.

A shepherd’s life was not an easy one. He was often rejected, misunderstood, lonely, and homeless. He was surrounded by defenseless, dependent, and whiny (baa-baa-baa!) charges. Many times the shepherds would travel in groups together ,but those sheep knew their shepherd, they recognized his voice among all the other shepherds. Now that’s amazing!

So I have to ask myself, do I know the voice of my shepherd? Can I recognize his voice above all the noise of this world? Am I willing to follow him wherever he leads me? For me, it’s a battle with self-pride, I just know so much better than anyone what I need and want! I make myself a mini-god in my own little world-Marci knows best! I struggle to stay humble, to focus on others first, and to listen to that small voice within. I have to be willing to spend quality time in the arms of my Shepherd.

May you have a blessed week and be filled with joy and the Holy Spirit- Marci

“…For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Rev 7:17

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Nature and Our Actions

A recent post to www.iibloom.com by Mattthew Kelly, entitled “What Can Nature Teach Us About Ourselves” allowed me to reflect on the rhythm of life and its power. It got me thinking of another aritcle by Fr. Longenecker entitled “Evaluating Disasters”, which allowed me to reflect on nature and the many disasters we have experienced of late.

If our holiness can lead to beauty, peace and harmony and the earths reaction to that, then could the oppposite  occur by our sin? What if our sins had a direct effect on the earth? Could our actions affect the rhythm of the created order? So, while we tend to either blame God, or question why he would let such diasters strike, maybe we should turn to ourselves. Do our sins have a ripple affect to the point of disturbing the life cycle of the earth? God created the world to communicate his glory. But, if we are not doing that, then what might happen? Instead of being collaborators with God’s will in completing his work of creation, could we be helping to bring it to destruction?

Six Accusations – Pope Benedict

Go to  the website http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/ and read the article by Sandro Magister entitled The Passion of Pope Benedict. Six Accusations, One Question.

Could Adolf Hitler have gone to Heaven?

During his academic years, Pope Benedict noticed that many had a false concept of what conscience is.  In a debate about the justifying force on an erring conscience, the subject of Hitler was brought up. “One colleague suggested the thesis that, if it were generally true that an erring conscience could lead to salvation, then even the SS troops under Hitler would have been justified and would now be in heaven, since they had committed their evil deeds out of fanatical conviction and without the least disturbance to their consciences. Another colleague responded, as if he were stating the most obvious thing in the world: ‘Yes, that is so!’ He argued that there was not the slightest doubt that Hitler and his collaborators were deeply convinced of their cause and could not in fact have acted differently. Therefore, despite all the objective horror of their deeds, they had acted morally, from a subjective perspective. And since they were following their conscience, even though it was misdirected, their conduct must be acknowledge as moral. There is thus no doubt that they attained eternal salvation.” (Excerpt fromValues in a Time of Upheaval by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). . (New York: Crossroad Publishing Co.), 80.)

Do you agree with Cardinal Ratzinger’s colleagues? Why or why not?

The Sacred

Do you think that we have lost the sense of the Sacred in

our lives?

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