Message: May Jesus give us shepherds after his own heart - in them may we hear the voice of the One Shepherd.
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd." To continue his mission Jesus gives us the apostles and their successors. Today I focus on the work of the shepherd Jesus has given us in Western Washington - Archbishop Sartain.
You know, I liked him from the beginning - not because people say we look like brothers although that is nice. I like him because he is a good shepherd. Pope Francis recently spoke about the importance of having "the heart of a shepherd." Archbishop Sartain has that heart. I have heard many stories about ways he reaches out to priests and to people who are hurting. His books for Advent and lent are written from that caring heart.
In every Mass we include a prayer for Archbishop Sartain. Beyond that formal prayer, I often think about him. I've got my own work and worries, but when I think about Archbishop Sartain, I realize he has a hundred times more responsibility that I do. Yet it seems he has more inner peace that I do!
Pope Francis spoke about this inner peace. On Holy Thursday he gave a talk to the priests of the Rome diocese. The Holy Father addressed the tiredness, even exhaustion, that a priest sometimes feels. He said, "There is a good and healthy tiredness. It is the exhaustion of the priest who wears the smell of the sheep..." The pope then added that a "good and healthy tiredness" comes not only from wearing the smell of the sheep, but also "the smile of a father rejoicing in his children or grandchildren."
I'm sure many of you identify with this. Single young adults, fathers and mothers (especially mothers) feel tiredness, even exhaustion. Although we priests have our own stress, we do not have the same kind that parents face. For their sake I hope we can exemplify what the pope calls "healthy tiredness" and that we will wear both the smell of sheep and the smile of a father.
Someone who has those qualities in spades is our spiritual leader, Archbishop Sartain. You may know that he dedicates a fair amount of time to seminarians and young priests. He has a full plate: to provide good priests, deacons and pastoral leaders for Western Washington. To oversee care for people who are hurting. To reach out to those fallen from the faith. I ask you to join me in supporting Archbishop Sartain and all he does as chief shepherd of the Northwest.
Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd." May he give us shepherds after his own heart. And in them may we hear the voice of the one shepherd. Amen.
From Archives (Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B):
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2015 Peru Mission Trip