READINGS for 2009-05-03
CONFESSIONS OF A VOLUNTEER
“I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead…” – John 10:16
My poor flat feet were aching and my throat was sore from running a free workshop the entire day. “Why am I doing this? I’m not even getting paid for this!” I complained in my mind.
When you’re getting paid to do something, it’s usually easier to see its value and do a good job. You could get reprimanded, labeled inefficient or you could even lose your job. But being a volunteer puts your motives in a different light. Your job is to serve strangers — some of them less fortunate or less educated than you, and who will never be able to pay you or even thank you for your efforts.
I looked at my participants — a group of students from provincial schools. That day, I was running a workshop on prejudice and discrimination. I wanted to do my part in creating a kinder, gentler world. I listened intently as these young people shared their thoughts, struggles and resolutions.
I smiled. All of a sudden, I knew why I was doing this. Sure, it can be a thankless, exhausting job. But I believe education and empowerment are worthwhile causes. Because I believe the good must be done. Because Jesus loved me first and now I am compelled to share that love with others. Cess Cosico
Have you volunteered for anything lately?
Lord, let me serve You by serving others.
It is important to note that Peter tackles the challenge to his ministry head-on. He is not going to allow this to distract him from the task of proclaiming the Gospel. In fact, he even uses the challenge to further proclaim the Gospel to the people. It is this sort of cunning and guile we will have to employ to get the message across to the people of our day. So many seem to be unwilling to even listen to the Gospel today. Let us seek out God’s wisdom on how to proclaim the Gospel in such a difficult situation.
8 Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, 10 then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. 11 He is ‘the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
P S A L M
Psalm 118:1. 8-9. 21-23. 26. 28. 29 (22)
R: The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. (R) 21 I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me and have been my savior. 22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23 By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. (R) 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD; we bless you from the house of the LORD. 28 I will give thanks to you; O my God, I extol you. 29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his kindness endures forever. (R)
The world today often talks of love, but more often than not, it has no idea what it is talking about. If the television and print media are our gauge then love is more likely to be a feeling than a decision; something that has ‘me’ as the focal point rather than ‘the other’; and is all about receiving, not giving. This idea is closer to lust than love! No wonder so many marriages and even human relationships in general are
on the verge of breaking up, if they are not already broken.
1 John 3:1-2
1 Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
G O S P E L
The image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd may well speak more strongly to those who have a rural background than those from the city, but nevertheless, I think we can all understand the gist and power of this image. It is important not to forget that Jesus has chosen to give His life for the sake of His sheep which is generally a bit more than a shepherd is willing to give. Perhaps this is why we have the adjective ‘good’ attached to the image.
11 Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. 13 This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”
think:Let us seek out God’s wisdom on how to proclaim the Gospel in today’s difficult situation.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Leviticus 19-21
My weekly time with God
THANK YOU LIST
Things to be grateful for from the past week
Things to ask God for in the coming week
Most important word God told me this week
Jesus is the GooD shepherD
We are probably all aware of the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd — we have all probably seen pictures of Jesus carrying a lamb on His shoulders. However, I wonder how often we have paused to reflect on what the image actually means in terms of our response? What I am trying to get at is that it is no good having a Good Shepherd if the sheep He shepherds are not willing to listen to and follow His commands! The whole idea of a shepherd is that he leads the sheep to good pasture and protects them from any person or animal that would seek to kill or harm them.
We want the protection; we want to be fed with good food. Are we willing to be obedient to God’s word in order to receive these things? What does it mean to be obedient to God’s word? Let us return to the image of the Good Shepherd. Sheep are animals that rarely seem to think for themselves. They operate under some sort of “mob rule.” That is, individualists among them are rare. I wonder how often in our relationship with God do we insist on our own way or simply ignore the advice or directions coming from the Holy Spirit or the teachings of the Church? These are matters of our own choices — if we want to experience Jesus as the Good Shepherd, we must also be willing to become the dutiful and obedient sheep.
If we are not obedient to God’s Word as we find it in the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church, it will not be possible for us to know and experience Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Too often I hear people complain that God does not do anything for them, but the real issue is that they do not place themselves in a position where it is possible for God to do anything for them. Their complaint is an invalid one as it is unreasonable, even hypocritical, to expect God to do anything for us when we are unwilling to live by His Word and teaching. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
Do I experience Jesus as the Good Shepherd leading me to everlasting life? If not, is this because I am unwilling to follow the rules He sets out for my life?
Holy Spirit, You have been sent to lead me into the truth and make me a disciple of Jesus. Grant me the grace to surrender to Your will and guidance so that I will truly be a follower of the Good Shepherd.
Sts. Philip and James, Apostles, pray for us.
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