A reflection on Tuesday’s Gospel reading:
are we men and women of …encouragement, enthusiastically trying to inspire others to grow in faith, to come more deeply into their friendship with Christ, inviting them and facilitating for them to use the gifts God has given them to share in the work of spreading the faith?
The Church today needs … men and women who aren’t afraid to encourage to share their work, to stick up for others when others don’t think they’re capable or qualified, to invite them to collaborate in the joyful duty of passing on the Good News to others. This is one of the most important things in the New Evangelization that is supposed to flow from the Year of Faith.
… there aren’t enough laborers in the Lord’s vineyard to attend to the ripe fruit on the vine. There are so many sheep in the Lord’s fold who need good shepherds to care for them, not to mention so many sheep who have wandered from the fold who need those acting in the person of the Good Shepherd to leave the 99 behind and go out in search for them.
It’s something that Pope Francis can’t do all by himself. It’s something that the bishops united with him can’t do by themselves. It’s something that all the priests of the world can’t do together. It’s something that all the missionaries, religious, and consecrated people can’t do. It’s something for which even all the catechists together with clergy and religious can’t do.
It’s something for which we’re all needed… Let’s open ourselves to respond … so that through us, as God did through them, others may hear the echo of the Good Shepherd’s voice and feel the warmth of his sacrificial love, guiding them to the verdant pastures where, as Jesus tells us in the Gospel, he seeks to give us eternal repose.
For his part, the pope reminded us at his Wednesday audience:
our Lord teaches us to await his coming with fear but confident trust, ever watchful for the signs of his presence and faithful in prayer and works of charity, so that when he comes he will find us his good and faithful servants.
I gather the audience was over three hours long this week. There were 100,000 people there. On a Wednesday.
At Mass, Pope Francis said that the Church began “in the heart of the Father.”
“We, the women and men of the Church, we are in the middle of a love story: each of us is a link in this chain of love. And if we do not understand this, we have understood nothing of what the Church is.”
He said that we must not compromise to get “more partners in this enterprise,” according to the Vatican Radio translation. He cautioned that “the Church does not grow by human strength” but through the path of love.
He said that “we learn, with our mistakes, how the story of love goes.”
“And we are in the middle of a love story that continues thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit. All of us together are a family in the Church, who is our Mother.”
He asked Mary to ask for “the grace of the spiritual joy of participating in this love story” with her Son.