Abundant Life

Fourth Sunday of Easter

May 3, 2020

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Today, in Mercy, Jesus makes a great offer!

ollie
Don’t we all want to live a free and joyful life —- to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Hasn’t this pandemic made us all pause and think about what that really means?

 

 


What if you saw a sign like this somewhere:

advert

We’d all run in to get that deal, right? Well, our Gospel today offers an even better deal … just with a few more strings.

Using the shepherd imagery with which they would be familiar, Jesus tells his followers:

I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

tulpis


So what is the “gate” we must pass through to gain this abundant life?

In our second reading, Peter shows us the answer. In all things, we are to live in pattern of Christ.

Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
…. For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.


RG

Living like this, within the Love Who is Christ, we dwell in eternal life – even as we experience the exigencies of our earthly journey.

Let us pray today to grow in a faith like this, one that frees us to live in utter trust, freedom, and holy joy. Let us look into the eyes of God and ask to grow in childlike love and peace.

 

(Perhaps in your prayer today, as many of us are still living at a distance from the life we love, you might want to look at some of your favorite photos. Pray with the joy, delight and gratitude they give you on this day of “Abundant Life”.)


Music: Peter’s Canticle – today’s second reading set to music by John Michael Talbot.

Jesus has suffered for you
To comfort your life within his dying
Dying so that all might live
Bearing our wounds
So that we might be healed

Let all who seek the true path to peace
Simply come to follow in the footsteps of this man
Who laid down his life when threatened with hatred
And so he came to live in the blessings of love
And so he came to live forever

Merciful Jesus – Piè Jesu

Saturday, February 9, 2019

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rgular shepherd

Today, in Mercy,  our readings refer to Christ’s infinite compassion by using the image of a shepherd.

It is an image that, while not completely lost on us, is removed from our daily experience. Within the image, though, are elements which transcend time and culture. These elements become clear as we pray with our Responsorial Psalm 23:

Just as Jesus looked at the crowd with pity – (pietàs – a devoted, compassionate love), so he looks on us. It is love like that conveyed in Michaelangelo’s Pietà, where Mary looks on Jesus with a love we cannot imagine.

rome pieta

Psalm 23
(Jesus sees that we need rest from the things that harass our spirits.)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

(Jesus sees that we need guidance in our complex and morally bereft world.)
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

(Jesus sees that we are hungry for deeply spiritual nourishment.)
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

(Jesus sees that we need to be assured that we are deeply loved and protected.)
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all wthe days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want

What assurance, what pietàs, do we most need from God today?
Perhaps these modern images of Pietà will help us with our prayer.

pieta modern
Modern Pietà – Michael Belk
standing piets
Christ Holds the Beloved – Thomas Blackshear

Music: Piè Jesu – Andrew Lloyd Webber
sung here by Lea Salonga & Daniel Rodriguez
(note English translation in lower right)

Like A Shepherd

Sunday, December 9, 2018

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Baruch 5_9 copy

 

Today, in Mercy, our magnificent readings are filled with the beloved phrases of Advent: 

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord”, 

“Comfort ye my people”, 

“Like a shepherd, he feeds his flock.” 

These words paint the background for our redemption: a merciful God is about to touch our suffering, twisted world with transforming Mercy! 

God will comfort, straighten, lift and heal all that is broken in and around us. 

We have much to put in God’s redeeming hands today in our prayer.

Music: Like A Shepherd – Bob Dufford, SJ