St. John the Evangelist is a fascinating character. He was, tradition tells us, the youngest of the Apostles. The brother of James, the son of Zebedee the Fisherman, he was a “Son of Thunder,” who had his mother ask the Lord if he and his brother could sit one on his right and the other on his left.
On this Good Shepherd Sunday, pray for your shepherds, your priests and bishops, that they may indeed be good and holy and that, in their service to God’s people, they may strive by words and deeds to sanctify the Bride of Christ, the Church, in the service of Christ, the Bridegroom.
That ministry that is Peter’s is carried out today by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has taken the name Francis. Pray for him daily by name. Let the Pope not just be a distant figure in a faraway country but a real and true Pontiff, which means bridge.
Every day, as the Mass is celebrated on altars throughout the world, we, the faithful, extend our hands to touch His wounds in love, and thus be healed by them. We bring Him our fears, our broken hearts and lives, as well as our deepest joys and gratitude. We place our shattered hope in Him once more, and witness the glorious resurrection promised to Thomas and the others who put into practice the trust modeled by Mary.
This day, as we commemorate the Resurrection of the Christ, we are reminded that life and goodness have the final victory in God’s cosmic design, as well as in every individual soul that places its trust in Him. Carrying our burdens with eyes fixed on Him, feeling the nearness of death yet rejecting its tempting despair, we taste the glory of this present feast in all of its refreshing goodness.
On this Palm Sunday, as we wave our palm and praise the Son of David, let us welcome Him into the contradictions of our divided hearts, begging Him to heal us and reconcile us with the Father, so that next Sunday we might truly and joyfully celebrate not only His resurrection, but ours as well.
May He who spoke forgiveness into her heart and ours, the One who takes away the sins of the world, lead us into the heart of the Father anew, that we might sing a song of salvation to a world desperate for good news.
St. Paul challenges us in the second reading to be ambassadors of Christ “as if God were appealing through us.” He calls people to be reconciled to God. Rather than being like the older son, who scorns the wayward brother, a great way to be an ambassador of Christ this Lent would be to invite people to be embraced by the Father’s love.
One of the ways we can produce good fruit is by calling on the name of the Lord. In my own prayer, my most common way of referring to God is by saying “Lord.” “Lord, I adore you, Lord, I praise you, Lord, I worship you, Lord, I love you.”
St. Paul tells us in the second reading that “our citizenship is in heaven.” The goal of every Christian must be to get to heaven. It is promised to us, but not assured if we do not listen to Jesus. All of our work on earth – all of our praying, fasting, almsgiving – is preparation to live as citizens of heaven.