From the Pastor's Desk
This Sunday is Called Good Shepherd Sunday and World Day of Prayer for Vocations .The Church reminds us of our call to become good shepherds of God’s flock and good sheep of His parishes and invites us to pray for vocations to the priesthood, the diaconate and the consecrated life. The first reading is taken from St. Peter’s first sermon, given on Pentecost. Here, he exhorts his listeners, Jewish people gathered for the Feast of Weeks – the "Sabbath" of the seven weeks that have elapsed since Passover -- to know beyond any doubt that the One they have allowed to be crucified is the true Shepherd, the Lord and Messiah. Peter then proclaims that the proper response to the Good News about Jesus is to repent and be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ,” and thus to become members of the Good Shepherd’s flock. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, they will receive the forgiveness of sins.
The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 23), introduces Yahweh as the Good Shepherd of Israel and describes all of the things the Lord does for us, His sheep, in providing for our needs.
The second reading continues the "shepherd” imagery. Peter encourages the suffering Christians to follow in their shepherd’s (“suffering servant”) footsteps and remember that they have been claimed by him. Peter also explains how Jesus, the innocent sufferer, was a model of patience and trust in God, and he reminds us that Jesus’ suffering has enabled us to become more fully children of God.
In today’s Gospel, two brief parables about sheep reveal Jesus as our unique means to salvation. He is the "sheep gate," the gateway to eternal life, and the selfless, caring “shepherd” who provides protection and life itself. We need to become good shepherds and good leaders: Everyone who is entrusted with the care of others is a shepherd. Hence, pastors, parents, teachers, doctors, nurses, government officials and caregivers, among others, are all shepherds. We become good shepherds by loving those entrusted to us, praying for them, spending our time, talents and blessings for their welfare, and guarding them from physical and spiritual dangers.
Parents must be especially careful of their duties by giving good example and instruction to their children, training them in Christian principles. We need to become good sheep in the fold of Jesus, the Good Shepherd: Our local parish is our sheepfold, and our pastors are our shepherds. Jesus is the High Priest, the Bishops are the successors of the Apostles, the pastors are their helpers and the parishioners are the sheep. Hence, as the good sheep of the parish, parishioners are expected to Hear and follow the voice of our shepherds through their homilies, Bible classes, counseling and advice. Receive the spiritual food given by our pastors through our regular participation in the Holy Mass, our frequenting of the Sacraments and our participation in the prayer services, renewal programs and missions they offer. Cooperate with our pastors by giving them positive suggestions for the welfare of the parish, by encouraging them in their duties, by lovingly correcting them with constructive criticism when they are found misbehaving or failing in their duties and always by praying for them. Actively participate in the activities of various councils, ministries and parish associations.
We need to pray for more vocations for priests, Deacons and Religious Life. We as your Priests here at Christ the King Parish need your Prayers to continue to be your Good shepherds.