Life in Christ Week 4: Gratitude

(May 7, 2017)

Message: We thank Jesus for being Shepherd of our souls and for giving us visible shepherds.

Last weekend leaders of our United Youth Group gave a witness talk for the Annual Catholic Appeal. Today we have a wonderful witness that I will introduce at the end of the homily.

We are celebrating Good Shepherd Sunday which obviously connects with the Appeal. We are grateful for Jesus, our Good Shepherd. As we sang, "The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want."

Jesus has given us visible shepherds - Pope Francis and Archbishop Sartain. Archbishop Sartain tells a humorous story about how much we have received and how little gratitude we often have:

A grandmother takes her grandson to the beach. The boy goes out in a boat which tips over. The grandmother starts shouting for help. No one comes. Finally she prays, "Please, God, send someone to rescue my grandchild." As if out of nowhere a man appears, dives in the water and brings the boy gasping to shore. The grandmother starts straightening out the boy's wet clothes, then stops, looks up and says, "He had a hat!"

We smile because we recognize our own selves. God has given us everything, more than we deserve. Instead of constant gratitude we tend to get upset when one thing goes wrong: Getting stuck in traffic, a negative comment, a troublesome young person - or perhaps not so young.

This Sunday God invites us to reflect on how much we have freely received. The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. Our Life in Christ involves gratitude for the Shepherd of our souls.

Jesus, the Shepherd of our souls, gives us visible shepherds - the pope and bishops. As we saw last week they have an indispensable role in our walk with Jesus. Jesus walks with us in the Scriptures, the Eucharist and through those shepherds.

Next week I will say something about how Jesus walks with us in difficult circumstances - like we have experienced with the death of Fr. Valencia.

For today we recognize Jesus as the Good Shepherd. We thank him for being Shepherd of our souls and for giving us visible shepherds - the pope and bishops - and our local shepherd, Archbishop Sartain.

Through the Annual Catholic Appeal we support the work which Archbishop Sartain supervises in Western Washington. Our witness speakers have a wide experience of the Archdiocese of Seattle. We are grateful that they and their children are now part of our parish. With a spirit of gratitude, I ask you to listen to a second testimony about the Appeal. Please give your full attention to Thomas and Lena Jay.

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Spanish Version

From Archives (Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A):

2014: Journey to Hope Week 4
2011: Open the Door
2008: Door We Never Opened
2005: A Good Shepherd
2002: Can The Church Save Itself?
2000: Jesus' Job Description
1999: Where are the Shepherds?

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