How Do We Tend His Sheep? | Friar Reflections | The Third Sunday of Easter

Dear Parishioners,

In her May 2019 column for the Third Sunday of Easter entitled Only Sinners Need Apply, Mary McGlone, a writer for the National Catholic Reporter, summarized the interactions between Jesus and Peter in this week’s Gospel:

Jesus never mentioned Peter’s failings, and Peter made no apologies or excuses. For Jesus, reconciliation was not a matter of guilt, blame or penance, but an opportunity for transformation. Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” The first time, Jesus specifically asked if Peter loved him “more than these,” perhaps referring to Peter’s preference for being first. At this point, Peter would not claim priority. He simply answered, “You know that I love you.” This was Peter’s confession. Standing
humbled before Jesus, knowing that Jesus was fully aware of who he was and everything he had done, Peter acknowledged his weakness and claimed his source of strength. He needed to say no more than, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

In response, Jesus made no mention of the past. As He had done with everyone He healed or forgave, Jesus looked to the future and gave His forgiveness and grace by entrusting Peter with his mission. When Jesus had appeared among the disciples in the locked room, he commissioned them to forgive. Now, as Peter learned what divine forgiveness meant, Jesus commissioned Peter to feed and tend His sheep.

This week’s Gospel provides us a chance to reflect on how we’ve experienced God’s mercy and forgiveness. A chance to reflect on how, through our baptism, we are also being commissioned as Peter to go out and feed and tend God’s sheep. Seven years ago this week, Pope Francis, while receiving bishops in the Apostolic Palace as part of an official visit said, “(we) are called to feed the sheep by making a total gift of our lives, by washing the feet of others.”

The most obvious way our parishioners make themselves “a gift” and “tend His sheep” is through participation in a ministry. During the pandemic, many of our parish ministries were forced into holding patterns, or had to stop altogether. In keeping with the theme of renewal as our communications manager spoke to in his column last week, the friars and staff are searching for ways to assist parishioners and reinvigorate our ministries that were affected by the pandemic, while also looking to any new avenues we should explore. For example, there is a desire to see our RCIA process operate year-round, and we’d need assistance to accomplish that. Sacred Heart has a long-standing men’s prayer group, but is there an interest in having a dedicated prayer group for the women of the parish? With the hire of a new Parish Event Coordinator, we’d like to establish a parish event committee. As always there are liturgical ways to help tend the flock, as altar servers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, and ushers.

Given the many ways parishioners can utilize their gifts for the parish, we are looking at conducting a new ministry fair, to provide parishioners with the necessary information to know how and where they may help Sacred Heart the most. In the interim, should you have questions about joining an existing ministry, please call the parish office. As always, if there is a desire to begin a new ministry, feel free to reach out to me directly. Remember, too, that Pope Francis guides you to “not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!”

Peace and all good,
Fr. Mike