Weekend Refection (July 17/18)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Every tourist that visits Ireland comes home with a postcard of the “Irish traffic jam.” It’s a bunch of sheep blocking a country road with all the onlookers waiting for them to be moved. If you have been to Ireland, you might’ve witnessed this at first sight. If the farmer, the shepherd, isn’t at hand, some of the locals or drivers will attempt to clear the road. But, honestly, it’s always a disaster, it’s hilarious, with all these people shouting and waving their arms, the sheep are more terrified than ever and run in every direction but somehow still manage to block the road!
It’s only when the farmer arrives, the shepherd, that a solution is found. But, you see, the shepherd isn’t there to clear the road, to get rid of the inconvenience; he’s there to save the sheep. And even the sheep know it. They know his voice, and they follow it.
I’m always sympathetic to the shepherd in such situations because, as I’ve told you before, as a child, I was a “child shepherd” if I could give myself such a grand title. My siblings and I helped an old lady called Brigid, who was a shepherdess. In truth, we were lower down the totem pole than the sheepdogs! Admittedly they were more talented than we were.
I learned a lot about sheep. The first thing I learned was that they always need a shepherd. You see, sheep are not self-reliant; they’re not like some animal that can live in the wild and flourish. Sheep need to belong to a flock because they are social and have families. The ewe knows her own lambs. If a sheep or lamb leaves the flock, the outlook is not good; it will not end well unless they are found. Invariably they will get stuck in the bog or tangled in briars. If they are exposed to the elements for too long, they will not survive, and in addition to the challenges of the weather, there are always wolves.
In the gospel, Jesus tells us that he is the good shepherd, but he hears our voice. So I guess it’s not too flattering to think of ourselves as sheep, but maybe it’s more accurate than we like to acknowledge.
Please re-read the paragraph above concerning sheep and think about your own life. We need to belong to a flock, to a family. If we wander off by ourselves, often we get into trouble, and there are actual “wolves” out there. If you are lost, bogged down, entangled if you do not know where to turn to in your life if you have wandered off. Christ, the good shepherd is actively searching for you and calling your name. He speaks with a gentle, loving voice, not one of reprimand but the call return home.
Christ, the shepherd has not left us alone or abandoned us. He established a church and has provided us with pastors. Admittedly we human pastors are poor imitations of the good shepherd. Our feet are certainly made of clay. We have witnessed much failure and shame in recent years, but we also have exemplary men who have given their lives to the service of Christ, and Christ does continue to work through his ministers, through his church.
If you have wandered away from church practice or worship, can I also invite you to return to church, parish, prayer, and worship? You will receive no reprimand rather the warm welcome of a brother and sister, another member of the flock.
With Love and Blessings,
As a reminder, our parish has obtained access to Bishop Barron's
Word on Fire
video library for all parishioners and we can view any of his incredible series. A group of about 70 parishioners has been watching a video a week virtually. We've just started Bishop Barron's first series,
, a beautifully filmed and powerfully delivered overview of our faith. Please join us by texting the word BARRON to 84576 or go to
Live Stream Links
St. Catharine School Playground on Facebook
St. Catharine Church
St. Margaret Church
Virtual Prayer Book
Do you know someone that is in need of prayers?
Are they sick and need prayers of healing?
Do they need prayers for strength to get through this crisis?
Do they need prayers for patience while homeschooling their children?
Is someone lonely and could use a little lifting up by the Holy Spirit?
Add their name to our Virtual Prayer Book
. During the Prayer of the Faithful we will include them collectively by saying, "all those listed in our virtual prayer book" and they will be included along with all of the intersessions we are praying for during mass.
215 Essex Avenue
Spring Lake, NJ 07762
Although we are currently hosting a limited number of public masses, we are doing our very best to maintain a community for our parishioners and friends.
If you are able, please maintain your contributions to the parish. Donations can be mailed, given electronically, or dropped off in the free standing mailbox outside the rectory offices.
This will help us continue to pay our staff, who continue to work, and maintain vital programs and operations.
More information on electronic giving can be found
or by contacting Lisa Cole at
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on Sunday, July 18 at 6:15PM