THE readings last Sundayfocused on Jesus as the GoodShepherd. Thus our priest presider, Fr. Eric Santos, zeroedin on how Jesus showed whata Good Shepherd is like. In theGospel, Jesus and His discipleswant to take a break from their ministry work. The people,however, follow Jesus for theyknow He is the Shepherd who cansatisfy their longing for a deeprelationship with God.Just like the people whowanted to be with Jesus, peopletoday long for a Good Shepherd.Fr. Eric noted, however, that
our modern-day shepherds may
be like those alluded to in the
rst reading in 1 Jeremiah 23:1-6
where the Lord says,
“Woe tothe shepherds who mislead and
scatter the ock of my pasture.
”In our Church today, Fr.Eric lamented, we have two
problems: 1) lack of priests; and2) priests lacking in preaching
skills as well as true love for their parishioners—thus drivingthem away from the Churchand into the arms of other religious denominations.Fr. Eric said theologyis not enough to evangelize people. Parishioners need their priests to be shepherds who willguide them in their journey tospiritual renewal. Thus peoplego to prayer gatherings such asthe Feast which answer their spiritual need. We come to theFeast because we seek qualitytime with Jesus—amid our trials.So nothing—not even the rainslast Sunday—could stop us fromattending the Feast.Christians need priests whoserve as their true shepherds, Fr.Eric emphasized. For as long asthere is a shepherd, the sheep
will come out.
Fr. Eric then called for
prayers for our priests-- becausethere are some who go astray--
and for more young men to gointo priesthood.
Follow the Shepherd
IN the last talk of our series
,Bro. Bo Sanchez said to invite people to becloser to God means we should be
shers of men
as Jesus said in Matthew 4:19,
“And he said unto
them, Follow me, and I will make you shers of men.”
Jesus called us to become shers of men
not because we are useful to Him, but becauseof His love for us. Jesus wants to establish arelationship with us, His people, because He is
interested in us-- He considers us as His friends!
Many think that Jesus’ calling to become
shers of men are only for religious leaders.
Bro. Bo recalled that the Light of JesusFamily used to have about a hundredword mission statement. But now, LOJ’s
mission statement is down to two words:
.A disciple means a follower of Christ. And
Jesus wants us to be a disciple-maker. How?
By being a friend to someone. Discipleship isrelationship. In the context of that relationship,we make someone experience God’s love.How did Jesus really do it? Here are
His strategies:Learn from the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Israelites consider
Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, as a traitor because he collects taxes for theRomans who have conquered Israel, and worse, he collects more than the requiredtax so he can pocket the excess amount. Zaccheus, a small man, also knows he is
Meal Beforethe Message.
—a fact that does not escape Jesusas he sees Zaccheus climb a Sycamore tree to getthe Lord’s attention. So Jesus tells Zaccheus, “Imust stay in your house today.”Bro. Bo pointed out that instead of condemning Zaccheus— as church elders of the time are most likely to do—Jesus has a
meal with the tax collector, meaning, He rst befriends Zaccheus.
In the same manner, if we want to make disciples of people around
us, we must rst be a friend to them, before we relay to them Jesus’
message, His invitation for them to follow Him.Learn from the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4. Israelites consider
the Samaritan woman as an outcast for three reasons: she is not a Jew; she is awoman—therefore a second class citizen; she is not holy – because she had vehusbands, and she’s living-in with No. 6.2.
Worth Beforethe Word.
asks her, “Will you give me a drink?”By doing so, Jesus gives this woman
In the same manner, beforewe tell people about Jesus’ invitation for them to be His disciple, we must
rst make them feel that they have worth—that is, they are valuable, they
matter—enough for us to care for them.To avoid people’s condemning eyes, the womanfetches water at noon time, when everybody’s at their home having lunch. But Jesus goes near the woman and
Seek the Unchurched.
Bro. Bo revealed the shocking
fact that only 1.5 out of 10
Catholics attend Holy Mass.The 8.5 who no longer attend
Mass have various reasons:they are too busy; they
are angry at God or at the
priests; they had joined other denominations; they don’t
feel they belong to theCatholic Church.Bro. Bo said we shouldfocus our discipleship effortson the 85% of Catholicswho have strayed away fromour Church.He then outlined three
basic steps in making disciples:
Establish goodrelationships with peoplearound us.
Nurture our relationships by constantlyconnecting with the people andassuring them of our love for them.
Invite the peopleto follow Jesus.Bro. Bo said success in building relationships maynot happen overnight. But wemust persevere in sharing witheveryone God’s words, Hismessage of love and ways toabundant living. For, as God
promised in Isaiah 55:11,
shall my word be that goesout from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it
shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall
succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
— Kristine Mutuc Photos by Edmundo L. Santiago
THE FEAST July 29, 2012