The Good Shepherd

“Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side. With your rod and your staff that give me courage.” Psalm 23

Who hasn’t felt a deep sense of solidarity over these past weeks, realizing that we are responsible for one another, that we depend on one another, and we have the graced opportunity to take care of one another?

In the first century of Christianity — in fact, it was during one of the plagues in the Roman Empire — nonbelievers marveled at the charity and compassion of Christians. “See how they love one another,” they would say. Reminiscent of that experience, it has been beautiful to witness so many people (including right here at home) showing their love for God by serving their neighbors in this time of crisis and difficulty.

Speaking of right here at home, although our school buildings are closed, we are still educating hundreds of young people every day through distance learning. Although our church building is closed, we are helping people through the SVdP food pantry. We are seeing the beautiful network of compassion that we have in this parish with scores of people helping the elderly and the sick. Those who cannot serve with their hands are serving with their hearts — praying and offering up sacrifices and sufferings for others. All of this is inspiring and beautiful! Through the witness of your love, our neighbors can see the presence of the Risen Lord, even in this time of affliction and adversity.

If we step back and take a look at the larger picture, is it possible that God is asking us in this time to share in the insecurities and deprivations that define ordinary life for millions of people in nations around the world? We are being forced to “do without” what a lot of our brothers and sisters never had to begin with. That is something we could pray about and reflect on.

We are all struggling right now because we cannot have access to public Mass or the sacraments. This is a hard cross to bear. But maybe God is also asking us to share in the sufferings of the millions of people who live under regimes that repress or persecute the faith. These brothers and sisters of ours hunger and thirst for the sacraments and cannot receive them, even under ordinary circumstances. Our hearts go out to them as well. May the Good Shepherd continue to keep us united in faith and under His constant and loving care.

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