Today’s Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
I do hope you have had the blessed and joyous experience of at least one… one priest who has been a significant factor in your faith journey. Lisa Hendey has experienced one: I believe his name was Monsignor Collins. May he rest in God’s wonderful peace and reward.
One of the joys I’ve had was meeting Fr. Patrick J. O’Doherty. He was and is still the pastor of Queen of Peace Parish in Ocala, Florida. The Irish have an expression about someone who is somewhat full of himself… they simply refer to him as Himself. And I want to clarify that Fr. Pat isn’t full of himself – he’s full of love of God and Mary and the Church and the Sacraments. But with typical Irish wit and expression, some of this comes off as ‘Himself’ if you get my smiling drift.
One time, when the sunday Gospel was this one — about the Good Shepherd and laying down his life for his sheep, Fr. Pat said that he (Fr. Pat) was the Good Shepherd and it was his job to fleece the flock. That led into a small sermon about money and donations.
But in truth, Fr. Pat was a human example of a Good Shepherd. I have joined him in hospital visits, nursing home visits, jail and prison visits. He was a sort of spiritual ‘father’ to me for a while. The thing that he did was to show the example of what it means to lay down your life for others.
Some priests and bishops are better witnesses to this than others. But today, I want to acknowledge the priests and deacons and sisters and lay ministers who lay down some part or a lot of their lives to be Christ, and often to bring Christ to others.
Whether in my parenting or grand parenting or in my work in the parish, am I doing my best to lay down my life for others? Am I willing to pray to be led to more?
The words of today’s Gospel tell me that I must alway listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd. To do that, I ask you to give me moments of silence where I focus only on you, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Deacon Tom Fox