You Are Our Good Shepherd, Lord Jesus

 

Jesus said, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” (Jn. 10: 11)

 

 

 

This imagery of the Good Shepherd has wrought itself into Christian literature and art. The earliest representations of Christ in the catacombs depict him as “the Good Shepherd“. One of the most familiar pictures depict Jesus carrying a lamb in his bosom, another sheep looks intently upward to him, while the rest of the flock follows. The earliest hymns and latest minstrelsy of the Church dwell fondly on the image, which portrays his individual watchfulness, his tender care, his self-sacrificing love.

 

 

 

His is such a very deep, authentic kind of love. The love that is like no other. He is crazy for you, for me, for everyone. Even with our fickleness, even without us reciprocating, He loves us unconditionally. Period.

 

 

 

The Good Shepherd did lay His life for us, but is with us forever, through the Holy Spirit. In the First Reading, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke boldly and openly declares the name of Jesus. He told them, “Jesus is the stone rejected by you the builders, which has become the cornerstone.” (Acts 4: 11). The Holy Spirit fulfills Jesus promise to the Apostles to be with them till the end of time.The Holy Spirit is the “Soul” of the Church, empowering Her to be the voice of the Good Shepherd.

 

 

 

In consonance with Vocation Sunday, let us pray to the Holy Spirit to continuously guide Pope Francis, all bishops and priests to be faithful to their vocation of guiding us in this treacherous world.

 

Champspeak

Thank you Fr. Armand for rekindling the spirit of inspiring others continuously.  It was a very inspiring but also happy session. You will learn and realize the importance of every topic.

Sheila, San Miguel Foods, Northern Luzon Area

 

Living as Easter People

This Sunday I attended Mass at the Redemptorist Church. These congregation is close to my heart, having had the opportunity to meet in person Fr. Rudy Romano, way back in 1979, about 6 years before he was missing (He was declared dead in 2000, after 15 years. He lived a life that truly reflected what Jesus asked of him to do). Aside from that, my parents hosted several Redemptorists missionaries for quite some time in our home. They lived and operated out of Dad and Mom’s place for many months.

 

This Sunday then was like a ‘reunion’ for me, having lost touch with them for a long time already. There used to be a community in Bacolod and in Dumaguete, but they have already turned over the management of their churches to these cities’ respective dioceses.

 

In the Gospel, the reading takes us to the time when the two disciples narrated the encounter with the risen Lord to the rest of the disciples, as to what happened on the road to Emmaus. Then while still talking about it, Jesus himself stood among them. “But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.” (Lk. 24: 35 – 37).

 

This must be one great “reunion” with the Lord. Here, Jesus talked to them and re-assured them,

 

Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” (verse 39).

 

He reminded them of what he has said while he was still with them. Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And he said to them,

 

Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (verses 46 – 48).

 

This is an example of the journey of faith as it narrates how they came to believe in the risen Christ who entered into God’s glory. The challenge is for us to go through the same journey so we won’t experience eternal death. Jesus’ resurrection gives us a compelling reason to change our lives radically. However, it doesn’t end with that. As His followers, the risen Lord also invites us to be witnesses for him!

 

To be true and authentic followers of Jesus, we must heed and listen to His call. At all times. In moments that we stumble and fall, we should have the courage to rise again. We must live lives befitting Easter people. Let us act on what we professed to do as the risen Lord’s followers.

 

Let us pray that the risen Lord continue to strengthen and make us firm in our faith. May He surprise us from time to time with His loving and comforting presence.

God Gave Me Mornings

What is good on a Monday morning? Some dread this day after a weekend. Find the most enjoyable task that you love and do it on this day. You’ll definitely look forward to Mondays from hereon. Persons with a clear sense of purpose embrace their lives enthusiastically. The path is never tiring.

 

New Insights, New Courage

The Easter Season is one of the most re-assuring times as a Christian. During this period, we are further reminded of the importance of the Resurrection on our faith. The Gospel readings talked about the related events after the Resurrection, from Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the Lord, to the two disciples walking with the Lord to Emmaus, to the revelation to the eleven along the lake. Such refreshing insights that these holy men and women have experienced were really meant to re-assure and encourage the spreading of the Gospel afterwards.

Just like the apostles and the first followers of Jesus, the Gospels tell us of how the resurrection is experienced, spoken of, and lived on. It makes us deepen our faith. Given our frail conditions, we need to be constantly reminded of who we are. It tells us to stay the course at all times. Even in times of troubles and frustrations, there should be no stopping us from hoping that the Lord will help us through. Remember, the sunrise is just a dawn away, so let’s be graciously hopeful.

I remember receiving an SMS which says, “sometimes God breaks our spirit to save our soul, breaks our heart to make us whole, sends us pain so we can be stronger, sends us failure so we can be humble, sends us illness so we take better care of ourselves…” Indeed! At countless moments in our lives, after passing through the storm, we’ll realize the lessons soon after, that we even feel so grateful for being given the gift to experience that.

God’s love is so deep and so authentic, that whenever we feel disappointed, we should take heart to what the Lord said,

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt up for your ransom. Cush and Seba in your stead.

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you,

I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.”

 

(Is. 43: 1 – 4)

As we go back to our routines after this joyful celebration of Easter, let us be confident in the fulfillment of God’s promise. The next time a storm comes up, let us just be ready and confident of being provided the strength to handle these trials. Bank on God’s promise. Do what we’re supposed to do as authentic Christians. Stay the course. And God will do the rest.

Then once storm has passed, let’s be grateful and thankful. Another cycle is finished. Next.

Champspeak

The seminar was very informative and enriching. The learnings will be most valuable in my family life and in handling my people.  Fr. Armand as usual was able to keep the attention of all the participants despite discomfort brought about by the lack of power during the morning session. Despite his inability make use of the powerpoint materials in the morning, still he was able to explain and discuss the Code of Champions as if he has all the materials flashed on the screen.

Ma. Luisa Catalina Alcala, San Miguel Foods Inc.