Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd
by Bishop Thomas Daly
(From the April 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
At Mass throughout the Easter season we read from St. John’s Gospel where he gives us the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd. During this time, the universal Church asks the Catholic faithful to focus on our individual calls to holiness. That is, everyone who professes belief in Jesus Christ must strive to live a life pleasing to God. This involves daily prayer, participation in the Mass, and acts of charity. It also means we seek God’s will for us. Saints have taught us that if a decision brings us true peace, then we can trust it is God’s will for us.
Every day we are confronted with the reality that we are living in a crossroads period in the history of the Church. In these first decades of the 21st century, society in many traditionally Christian countries has forsaken the inspiration of the Gospel and has taken on a very secular, even anti-religious, way of living.
This moral vagueness attempts to silence the voice of Christ the Good Shepherd by stifling the voice of our conscience. For many, the word “sin” is longer in one’s vocabulary, the dignity of the human person is up for endless discussion, while the unborn, the poor, the aged, and the sick are deemed burdens. Pope Francis has frequently spoken about the “forgotten” – that is, those who are most vulnerable in our society, and how they are deemed unworthy of our compassion, care, and protection.
As Catholic Christians, we know that there is a need to challenge the voices that drown out Jesus Christ. The most effective way to do so is through the fearless proclamation of the Gospel with our lives giving witness to the Good News. During this Easter season, we are all to ask ourselves: “Am I following the voice of Christ the Shepherd and the teachings of the Gospel? Or is my life a denial of our Lord, a smug compromise, which picks and chooses from any source? Am I a Sunday Christian and a six-day pagan?”
Our daily prayer should include an intention that we might grow in holiness. This requires that we listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd who has given each of us a vocation in life. Our prayer for vocations must be matched by an equal commitment to model our faith and to ask our young people to consider serving our Lord. Responding to this call will not be easy or without its challenges, but Jesus Christ is calling our young people to be the voice of Christ in our time, a voice that can change the lives of others for all eternity.
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