Acts 2:14, 36-41; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10
Enduring the moment. The second reading from 1 Peter 2 speaks of endurance, patient endurance. Earlier in that letter (1 Peter 1: 6-9) the Apostle Peter says: “You may, for a time, have to suffer the distress of many trials.” Well, this is it. And let’s face it: we Americans are not a patient people. Witness the protests growing around the nation. This morning I heard a vaccine specialist says we may find in three weeks that states opened up too soon and concluded: “Sometimes we have to learn the hard way. I thought: How Biblical! You may recall that when the shut-down of Covid-19 began I said that it had biblical proportions; it recalled the plagues of the Bible. Well, this week in the Office of Readings we have been going through a patch from the Book of Revelation. Just on Thursday the talk was of plagues: “By these three plagues… a third of mankind was slain…. That part of mankind which escaped the plagues did not repent of the idols they had made. They did not give up the worship of demons or of gods made from gold and silver.” You can interpret that as you like regarding our lives in our current crisis.
But this time of our lives has been a period of great purification. We have been purified of many customary activities. We have had time to reflect on what is essential. And on Who is essential. We have always been a Godfearing people, a faithful people. We have been fortunate here in Mercer and Boyle counties that we have been spared, to a great extent, the horrors we have seen daily on our news media of various platforms. You have shown your great devotion to the Eucharist.
Today is good Shepherd Sunday. Today, once again, you are not able to receive the Eucharist sacramentally. But I believe that this “Eucharistic fast” (Bishop Barron) has increased a desire for the Lord in your lives. We have come to see what is essential: our God, the Eucharist, our families, gathering together to worship the one true God in union with the Church which holds us all together with its essential Rites (Urbi et Orbi, Re-consecration of the United States and Canada to Mary). Another example: “When is First Communion”? Is a good example. We continue to wait in patient endurance until we will all be reunited and receive Holy Communion again. Today after Mass on this Good Shepherd Sunday, we will have a Eucharistic Procession, another essential rite, to be as close as possible to the Eucharistic Lord.
We have our own sheepfold here. On Pentecost I would like us to have a picnic, after our parade through town, on our ample fields – our sheepfold – that we have so seldom used up to now. The field is one of our parish treasures, a treasure in the field. I will say more at the end of Mass – about allowing God to nurture us in this sheepfold as we nurture each other And to share it in the world.
May is Mary’s month. Let us pray that Mary might lead us to her Son and keep us and those we love in the sheep fold.