Archive for April, 2023

The Good Shepherd 4-30-2003

Thursday, April 27th, 2023

For most of us I think it is safe to say this image of the Shepherd is not
something we see very much everyday. It was a very common scene in
the early Church: – it is a common scene in the Middle East. People in
the early Church could really understand what was involved in being a
shepherd. It was very real and earthy to them. The Biblical figure of the
Shepherd – has been romanticized a lot in paintings, pictures, Holy
Cards, “rosy cheeked young men – among pure white fluffy sheep on
beautiful green hillsides – very serene and peaceful.”
I did a little research into what Shepherds were like in the Time of
Jesus. It was a very lonely, dirty, dangerous job – that could not be
managed from a distance. Shepherds lived among the sheep in the filth
and stench – the lives of the sheep were their primary concern. A sheep
sometimes wandered far off from the others – when it got lost and could
not find it’s way back, it would simply lie down where it was and refuse
to budge – the shepherd would search out for the lost sheep – carefully
pick it up and carry it home. There was a personal relationship between
the Shepherd and each individual sheep. They were not just numbers.
I believe this image of the Shepherd points us to God. God is
not squeamish; God will not run away when things get messy in our
lives; – God’s hands are dirty (not lily white); God’s clothes are stained
with waste, mud and blood – the waste, mud and blood of our roller
coaster lives. This God gets in the middle of the mess with us.
Does the mess magically disappear? Not most of the time; but
there is a sense we are not alone and that helps us get through it. A key
question for us; Are we afraid to share our messes with God?
How does this shepherding image of God come alive? Become real to
people – Today –
I believe most of the time thru people – we are called to be shepherds
for each other. We are responsible to pick each other up when we are
“I thought just priests and ministers were shepherds – no we all are if
we call ourselves Christian and mean it.”
“Don’t we need special skill and talents – training to do this? No! We
need a caring heart, a little common sense and a few less excuses.
“What about when you don’t have the answers or solutions to people’s
problems? You don’t know what to say or do. Just listen and just be
there for them.
I close with a story I am sure we all have heard;
A man dreamed he died and went to heaven and there was met
by Jesus. The man had lived a long Christian life, but it had not been
without some time of great trial and tribulation as well as those times
of joy and victory. As he met with Christ, the man was given a
panoramic review of his life – all the highlights and low periods. In
the review of his life one of the things that continued throughout were
his footsteps along the sands of time.
The man noticed that at those times in his life when it had really
been rough there was only one set of footprints – not two as in the
good times. The man turned to the Lord and said, “Lord, I don’t
understand. You promised to be with me always. But when I look
back now, I see that in those really rough times there was only one set
of footprints. Lord, why did you leave me then?”
The Lord looked at him, smiled and said, ‘Leave you? I didn’t
leave you at all. Dear friend, if you look at the one set of footprints
carefully, you’ll notice they are a little deeper than the others. Those
were the time I was carrying you.”

father Ron’s 50th anniversary

Sunday, April 23rd, 2023

Father Ron will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest at San Carlos cathedral in Monterey, Ca April 30, 2023. At 2PM With a reception to follow

God Is There 4-23-2003

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

Six-year-old Andrew Bateson came down with bacterial
meningitis, an aggressive disease that almost cost the little boy his life.
In order to save Andrew, doctors had to amputate his legs where the
disease had destroyed his circulatory system. Andrew was devastated
when he discovered what had happened to him; Andrew couldn’t
understand why he couldn’t have his “old legs back”.
His mother, Rebecca, wasn’t doing much better. She tried to keep
up a positive disposition for her son—but she wondered how Andrew
would handle the next chapter.
And she felt betrayed—betrayed by God.
After months of agonizing rehabilitation with his new prosthetic
legs, Andrew finally went home.
Then one night at supper, out of nowhere, Andrew said, “I saw
God, Mommy. I was sleeping at the hospital. He put his arms out, and
I thought he was going to give me a hug. But instead he just touched
me on the shoulder”.
His mother steeled herself. “Did God say anything?”
“No, he was just….there”.
A chill ran down his mother’s spine. Rebecca writes: “[God] was
just there. What did that mean? I looked at Andrew, wolfing down his
dinner. For months I had seen a handicapped child, a damaged child,
fighting as hard as he could, failing more often than succeeding in his
rehab. Falling down, unable to master his new legs. Yet, unlike me,
never turning bitter, never giving up. “I’m going to walk, I’m going to
ride my bike”, he’d insist, “You just watch”.
And Rebecca realized: “Andrew came through this better that I
have. He was moving on. I was stuck in my bitterness and sense of
betrayal…Had God been there all along for me too, and I was just too
angry to see? Was he there for me now? Lord, thank you for being
with Andrew. Be with me now, too”.
In closing, remember this: The Risen Christ is here, in our midst,
in the love of family and friends, in the care of doctors and nurses, in
the support of pastors and ministers, in the wisdom of teachers and
counselors. The disciples on the road to Emmaus finally realize his
presence in the breaking of bread; Rebecca finally grasps God’s
presence in the unshakable, determined faith of her little boy. Every
one of us has traveled the road the two disciples walked on Easter night;
many of us have made the journey that Andrew and his mom and dad
traveled. It is the road of deep disappointment, sadness, despair, anger.
But God assures us, in his Easter promise, that along those roads he will
make himself known to us. If our eyes are open, we will meet him in
his Christ: in the compassion and generosity of others, in the breaking
of bread and the healing touch of the sacraments, in the grace and
wisdom of his Spirit in our midst. May our hearts and consciences
always be open to behold the presence of Christ, our guest and
companion along the many roads we walk to our own Emmauses.
His mother asked, “Did God say anything?” Andrew answered,
“No….He was just there”!