Pastor’s Weekly Message 4-30-23

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
Today we find in the Gospel the familiar and beloved image of Christ as our Shepherd, calling His flock by name, protecting them from danger and guarding them from thieves and robbers. We sing the famous Psalm 23, the Lord is my shepherd, a frequent companion in difficulty with its reassurance of God’s unfailing presence in all times, good and bad. This pastoral imagery is central to the rich tradition of our faith, and would have been meaningful to many in Jesus’ time as well who made their living with flocks and were intimately familiar with the challenges and rewards of shepherding. But the Gospel tells us that the Pharisees did not understand what Jesus was explaining to them, so He tried another metaphor. “I am the gate for the sheep.” Jesus is not only the shepherd, guiding the sheep to safety, He is the very structure that keeps the sheep safe.
While this may be a less evocative visual image – a gate, however sturdy, does not have quite the same pictural appeal as a kindly shepherd carrying a lamb on his shoulders -this idea of Jesus as the gate to the sheepfold inspires us to consider another aspect of our Shepherd’s nature. Jesus creates space for us to be free, and at the same time to be safe. Jesus keeps those things that would hurt us out, while allowing that which we need in. As part of our discipleship, Jesus asks us to be His shepherds in the world. We are called to guide His flock to safety, to search for them when they are lost, to care for their needs, and to create places where they can rest safe and secure.
Today is  the world day of prayer for vocations and we pray that those called to the priesthood and the religious life may bravely answer that call. Please pray for those of us who answered that call, and are working to follow, however imperfectly, the example of the Good Shepherd. Please pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for our Bishop, Danny Garcia, and for Fr. Rey and myself. We need your prayers and we are deeply grateful for your trust, your care, and your support.
I wish you and your loved ones continued Easter blessings of good health and Holy Optimism Pervading Everything,

Fr. Paul

Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.

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