Thursday, April 30, 2009

"I am the good shepherd."

Issue Date: May 3, 2009
Fourth Sunday of Easter (Easter4B)

BURNING QUESTION: Can we get sick from the Communion cup?
FEATURED BLOG: Adoration, Silence and the Lamp of Fire
RECONCILIATION: Peace Corps provides alternative in tough economy
PASTORAL HISPANA: Jesús es nuestro Buen Pastor

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday. And it makes you realize that what really ticked off the ancient Romans still ticks people off today — Christians have the “arrogance” to claim that Jesus is the only savior. Our Discussion Questions will guide you, your family or your bible study group as you spend time reflecting on the Gospel Readings.

GOD'S CHURCH. Dr. Marcellino d'Ambrosio explains that while the Readings account for the fact that godly people are also found outside the visible boundaries of the Church, it is also made clear that God wants only one unified church. Father Cusick refers to the Catholic Church as the "House of God and gate of heaven." Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen says the Readings explain God's desire for the unity of all men in Himself. And Fr. Phil Bloom describes how salvation involves taking up our role as members of Jesus' flock, the Church. This discussion is quite interesting amidst a recent Pew Research survey that while Americans change religions often, U.S. Catholics are staying Catholic. The study also reported that children who go to Mass, continue going as adults. This explains why almost 70 percent of Catholic youth stay Catholic when grown-up.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD. Shepherds were at the very bottom of the status in the ancient world. And Fr. Andrew Greeley finds it simply astonishing that Christ whould choose this depiction of Himself. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB tells us that like the Good Shepherd that He is, "God seeks us out. Let us come to Him." Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm talks about "Knowing" Jesus and being "known" by Him. This is the same shepherd who laid down His life for us and established with us the new and everlasting covenant. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS tells us Jesus pledged to guide us to verdant pastures and restful waters. This is why Jesus, Fr. John Foley, SJ explains, Jesus can say “I am the good shepherd. I know mine and mine know me.”

The question, according to Fr. Joseph Pelligrino, that we all need to ask ourselves is: Do we want the Cornerstone? Do we want Jesus? Fr. Thomas Rosica prays that each person may strive to be a good shepherd today, in the Church and in the world.

PRIESTS AND VOCATIONS. Parishes nationwide are also urged to mark this Sunday the46th World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Fr. Rich Lifrak, SSCC says this is a day to appreciate these shepherds, these priests, brothers and religious sisters we find on this earth. As we pray for more servant leaders to arise, Fr. Alex McAllister asks us if we challenge our young people enough in the area of faith-development.

SWINE FLU. We are being warned that it could become a pandemic. In Mexico, Masses have been cancelled and the people are turning to Our Lady of Guadalupe in face of the crisis. While in the US, the USCCB has posted on the Web a series of 10 questions and answers related to participation at Mass during the time of the swine flu. In the middle of all the health warnings, our Burning Question asks you to reflect on this: Can we get sick from the Communion cup?

TWEETS, THE PASTOR-POPE & IRAQ. From Italy, a Cardinal has put out a call to promote a "Sea of Prayer" by sending Prayer Tweets. What a great idea. And you may also want to tweet us at From Iraq, the Catholic Relief Services director for Europe reports finding a whole lot of Iraqi Catholics who, in the fear and chaos that is Baghdad still today, insist not only on staying in Baghdad but, more than that, are determined to live fully as Iraqi Catholics. From Italy, the pope moved among the quake victims not like the high-profile leader of the mother Church but as a simple pastor to the suffering victims. And from Washington, DC, the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus urged Americans to emulate the example of the nation's first Catholic Bishop and keep their faith in the public square.

WHAT THE YOUTH NEEDS? We're pretty sure your youth group is as diverse as a menu at a fast food restaurant. Here's a great story: Keeping Harmony in a Diverse Youth Group. And did you ever imagine how the early Church kept the attention of the young without the special field trips and entertainment? They simply told them the truth. "Ah, Youth - When the Church was Young" will bring your youth ministry back to the basics.

INSPIRATION IN DANCING. In the movie, Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't." To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant." The Slow Down Culture gives us the rest of the story. "How to Dance in the Rain" talks of an elderly gentleman in his 80s who was rushing to have stitches removed from his thumb because he was in a hurry for a "special" appointment. And "Slow Dance" summarizes the lesson from these different stories: You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

Finally, ever wondered what MacDonalds might serve in India, Hong Kong or Palestine? Here's a list of the 10 most unusual items from the MacDonalds menu in different parts of the world. The selection is certainly informative and definitely intriguing. Check it out.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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