A message from our pastor….
Good Shepherd Church is a very welcoming community with dedicated parishioners. There are many families with children involved in the religious education program. A number of recent projects have made the church and parish hall attractive and functional for religious celebrations such as funerals, weddings and baptisms. I am very happy to have served the parish as pastor for several years.
Good Shepherd Church, rectory and office complex is located five miles east of Highway 13, along Highway 102 as you enter into the village of Rib Lake. Come, and join us for Mass! If you are interested in joining the parish, call or stop in!
Our Mission . . .
The mission of Good Shepherd is to welcome all to spiritual growth through prayer, worship and ongoing formation. Together, formed in the image of Christ, the Good Shepherd, we will tend to the needs of the entire community.
REFLECTION FROM OUR PASTOR
Forgive: The first reading from Sirach caught my initial thinking: “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice, then…your own sins will be forgiven.” As a priest for so many years, one of the most grateful things that I have been ask to do is to forgive sins both at the beginning of Mass and particularly at the sacrament of confession. In order for people to receive that sacrament they must first admit to themselves anything that they have done wrong. So often it is something that they did to another. Often I tell them that they can hardly ask God for forgiveness unless they also are willing to forgive others.
The Gospel of Matthew really demonstrates that. When Peter asks Jesus how often he should forgive one who has sinned against him, Jesus insists that it must be “seventy-seven times.” This means many more times than you can imagine. A king, then, does exactly what Jesus wants. He forgave a person who owed him an enormous amount and was totally unable to pay it. Initially all that the man asked was that the king be patient with him. Unfortunately, however, that same man fails to be patient and forgiving of a fellow servant who owed him much less. Because he now failed to be forgiving, the king reversed his initial forgiveness and punished him severely.
Paul’s letter to the Romans sets things as we should live: “None of us lives for oneself… For if we live, we live for the Lord.” If the Lord is so forgiving for us, we must try to imitate the Lord and be more forgiving. We live in a world in which so many do not forgive but even kill others. Let us pray that we and more in our world will learn from Jesus and ask his help to be more patient and forgiving.
Fr. Otto Bucher, OFM Cap
LAY LEADER OF PRAYER REFLECTION:
Let’s place our focus on this passage in today’s Gospel: “Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”
As you know, GOD spelled backwards is DOG. There is a festival in Nepal dedicated solely to thanking dogs for their loyalty and friendship. Anyone who owns or has owned a dog can relate to many of the things mentioned here. Dogs are devoted to their master. They want to make their master happy by being obedient and doing tricks, but the master must work with them to teach them obedience. Dogs must learn what is pleasing and not pleasing to their master. Dogs are also beggars. If you eat, they want to eat. If you won’t feed them any scraps, they may sit and drool and beg as they watch you eat. Give them even the smallest morsel and you’d think you gave them the world. You can sense a bit of sadness in dogs when you leave home, but you see their joy when you drive home and into the yard. Dogs want to be by your side or under your feet when you sit; they lay by your bedside as you sleep (some sleep with you). If you stir during the night, they are there to check up on you. Pet them or brush them out and they are happy beyond measure. Dogs sense when you are sad or happy or angry. Dogs are sounding boards when you need someone to talk to. Forget to take your dog for a walk, they will let you know—and sometimes they persistently whine until you do take them! Most of the time, dogs are content just being with you and feeling loved.
Perhaps GOD gave us the DOG as a model of how we should in turn be for Him—our Master. Ask yourself: How devoted am I to God? Does my faithful devotion and love cause me to want to please Him? How is God trying to train me—perhaps to be more obedient, to do good works, to be more prayerful? Do I sometimes beg and plead with God for what I desire, sometimes becoming very persistent? Do I sometimes whine to God, being unhappy for not getting my way? Do I remain close to God with every step I take? Am I in tune with what makes God happy or sad or angry? Do I listen to God when He speaks? Do I turn to God and express my joys, sadness, hurts and anger? Does it sometimes seem like God has driven away from me? Do I remain faithful even in those empty moments?
Never underestimate the love our Master has for us. Spend time with God today and every day. Be that faithful, that loyal companion that walks by His side.
REFLECTION FROM FATHER DEN:
“If I Had My Druthers”
Pope Francis recently celebrated his 80th birthday. Five years ago, when he was still Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and not yet Pope, he submitted a mandated letter of resignation as Archbishop to Pope Benedict, because he had turned 75. Pope Benedict would not accept Cardinal Bergoglio’s resignation. However, within a year, Pope Benedict himself resigned as Pope and Cardinal Bergoglio was elected as the new Pope, Pope Francis. I mention this story because if Cardinal Bergoglio had not continued as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he probably wouldn’t have been elected Pope by his brother cardinals.
St. Paul says something similar and appropriate in today’s reading from Philippians: “I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit.” Paul has a tremendous desire to keep increasing the presence of Christ among the people of Philippi; this is exactly what Pope Francis continues to do for God’s people worldwide, despite the enormous drain of energy he must be experiencing. I can’t imagine what that must be like for him—and for so many other Church leaders—exhausting themselves for us day by day.
I hope St. Paul’s words about service for the Church resonate in your life. Do we acknowledge a sense of ownership in the Church’s goals and impact on the world? Do we recognize the gifts we possess that are valuable for the growth of the Church? And especially Good Shepherd Parish? Do we have a sense of pride in the growth of the Kingdom? Maybe we’d rather let our gifts hibernate within ourselves and prefer not to be bothered.
Thanks to so many of you who have caught the spark of sharing your gifts for the good of the Church. For those of you who have not dipped your toes into the waters of being “Church-for-others,” there’s plenty of room – and so much that still needs to be done!
Come on in; the water’s fine.
Father Dennis Meulemans