National Catholic Reporter
A lay Catholic weekly, bi-weekly during the summer, that contains global up-to-date coverage of news of interest to thinking Catholics.
Bread for the World
A national faith based organization founded to lobby Congress on behalf of the hungry throughout the world.
Road to Recovery, Inc
Road to Recovery, Inc is the initiative of advocates for victims of sexual abuse. Advocacy is two-fold: 1. To provide a path for the healing of victims; 2. To confront perpetrators and those who cover up the sexual assault of minors and vulnerable adult.
A timely Catholic weekly published by the Jesuits. American keeps us up to date on both news and opinion relevant to timely issues and events.
This link will keep 'parishioners-at-large' in touch with current creative liturgy sources and resources that respect a variety of 'traditions' within the Church.
Voice of the Faithful
A 'movement' of lay Catholics 'inspired' by the abuse scandal calling for greater accountability of bishops to 'Catholics in the Pew.'
Survivos' Network for those Abused by Priests or Religious
A National Network of self-help support groups for people abused by clergy or religious.
Vital information about the disclosure of sexual abuse and related issues affecting Catholics in the pew and the manner in which Bishops continue to exempt themselves from accountability
A 'lay' Catholic weekly publication with an accent on an intelligent analysis and commentary on curent issues, trends and concerns of interest to Catholics.
Bill Moyers and Company
A must link for all who desire to be kept informed of the truth about 'truths' communicated by the commercial media and the political pundists who hsve another agenda that makes truth a precious commodity.
+ Thursday before Epiphany
Readings: I John 2:22-28 Psalm 98:1-4 John 1:19-28
Who are you… for Jesus?
This is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” [John 1:19]
When engaging in spiritual direction, I always begin the process by asking the question, “Who is Jesus for you?” Counselees often respond with the usual catechetical answer, “The Son of God… Redeemer, Savior of the world.” Some have arrived at the point at which they refer to Jesus as their best friend.
It’s a question I ask myself at this time of the year. It’s the right time to ask the question during this interim period between Christmas and Epiphany.
Jesus is everything to me. For a start, he is my best friend, my soul companion, my animator and the ground of my being. As I continue to battle trauma associated with advocacy for the abused, I don’t know what my life would be like without his presence especially when life seems to lose its luster and the going gets rough.
It also occurred to me that Jesus is also my neighbor next door; the beggar on the corner, the returning soldier from Iraq or Afghanistan, the handicapped child, the young woman dying of dreaded cancer… the list is endless.
It’s so easy to keep Jesus in the crèche but already he is waling in the shadow of the cross.
The second question is more difficult to answer: “Who are you for Jesus?”
Everything! After all, we were made in the image and likeness of God! God can’t do what God does best unless we do what we do best.Daily Scripture Archive»
In whose name?
When my sister and I were kids, my father would whistle for us when it was time to “come home” for supper. We grew up in an old house constructed on the side of a hill in Morristown just below Fort Nonsense, the site of an historic encampment of George Washington’s revolutionary army of 1776. My mother referred to our house as the ‘original split-level—three stories in the front, five in the back.
At any rate, our ‘play area’ extended down the hill and included a ‘homemade’ softball field behind the township firehouse. My father’s whistle could be heard at that distance. We knew the sound of his whistle and we would head back up the hill and through the ‘back lane’ to our home for supper.
There were times, of course, when our preoccupation with fun and games resulted in our ignoring the signal. After the second call, mom would take over and then we knew time for dilly-dallying had run out. Mother’s have a unique way of getting the attention of their children when all else fails.
Today is ‘Good Shepherd Sunday.’ John’s image of Jesus as shepherd is warm and engaging. Jesus did not have a doctorate in theology or a PhD in philosophy. His words were simple but he was a wise teacher and mentor. He used familiar images and metaphors because he knew his disciples would get the point without endless explanation or exegesis.
The image of the shepherd was familiar to the people of Israel. Of course the title referred literally to the guardian of the sheep. But it was also ascribed by analogy to the kings of Judah and Israel. Jesus’ description of himself as a good shepherd had a twofold meaning. He was referring to himself as a good shepherd willing to risk his life for the sheep. The proof of his ownership was the fact that the sheep knew the sound of his voice and recognized his call. Contrary to what we may assume, sheep are not dumb. The good shepherd is also a gatekeeper at night as a protection against predators.
Jesus was also the “good shepherd” as distinguished from the bad shepherds of Israel who concerned themselves with their own interests rather than those of the people. They were more like hired hands that exploited the people for their own personal gain. Unlike them, Jesus would give his life for the sake of his people. In fact, his faithfulness did cost him his life. The shepherd became the lamb slaughtered for the sake of the flock.
Several years ago, I asked this question of children gathered for the family Mass on Good Shepherd Sunday: “Who are your shepherds?”Here are some of their responses: “My dad, my mom, my sister, my uncle, my grandparents, my teacher.” Then out of the blue, one little boy seated directly in front of me asked, “Father Lasch, have you ever seen a real leopard?” I said no. He said, “Watch out for the leopards!” I didn’t get the connection immediately. Perhaps the word leopard came to mind because it sounds like ‘shepherd.’ As it turned out, his caution was more than poignant.
It was curious that no one mentioned a priest or a pastor. I took no offense because at their age, their shepherds were their parents and those closest to them. These are the people who had guided them along right paths preparing them for life, sacrificing their own needs and wants for the sake of these youngsters.
Who are the ‘shepherds’ in your life? I hope they include a pastor here and there. Despite some notorious predators, there are still many more good shepherds who will lay down their life for their sheep.
Of course, we are all shepherds to one another. We all act “in the name of Jesus” in that regard. A good shepherd brings the best out of us. A good shepherd challenges but never hassles. A good shepherd is a patient mentor and even a loving partner and protects us from the bullies in life.
The world is full of bullies of one kind or another. We all know of “wolves in sheep’s clothing” whose interests neither honest nor ethical. They may be found in the marketplace and unfortunately, in the privacy of the home and some have even been found in the very the sanctuary of the church.
In order for us to be true shepherds, we must know the sound of the shepherd’s voice and the beat of his heart. It is not enough to know or speak his name. We must know him intimately in prayer.
The story is told of a pastor who could recite with great eloquence, the shepherd’s psalm, Psalm 23. On a particular occasion, a parishioner asked him to recite the psalm after his homily. He declined the invitation and then looked out into the congregation and pointed to an elderly man seated in the last pew. He said, “There is the man who should recite the psalm. Indeed, I know the psalm but this man knows the shepherd!”
Watch out for the leopards and listen for the voice of the true shepherd!