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 LENTEN REFLECTION:
Being declared “unclean” in any way can be disgraceful. One can only imagine the panic that would set in when a person discovered a sore on them when leprosy was fairly common. On top of that, Leviticus tells that because of the sore, you were required to take certain measures, and appear before a priest to be declared “unclean.” But it is a leper in today’s Gospel that takes a desperate measure and comes begging before Jesus for healing from this disease. It is his words that really stand out for me today, “IF YOU WISH, you can make me clean.” Jesus understands that the leper has the faith to recognize who Jesus is and that He could heal him. He also has the understanding that it is up to Jesus to decide whether he should be healed from leprosy or not. Moved with compassion, Jesus does heal the man. The man, however, in his excitement does not follow through on Jesus’ request to tell no one anything about this healing. He can’t wait to spread the word.
IF YOU WISH. This phrase reminds me of how we should look at sickness and healing today. I went to a healing Mass years ago, and was open to any kind of healing the Lord had for me. I was on a heart medication at the time, and following the healing, the cardiologist said I could stop taking my meds and did not have to return unless complications should arise. God had blessed me with His healing.
On the other hand, my sister Helen was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We prayed for her, but her answer for healing came in an unusual way. She told me she saw our other sister Patsy who had died earlier from MS and had been unable to walk for a number of years. Patsy got up, walked across the room to her and took her hand. She knew at that moment what God’s answer was for her. She had to accept a different outcome, but was blessed and assured that her death would bring her into a different realm of joy.
Acceptance of the Lord’s will over and above our own—whether it be for a physical, spiritual or emotional healing—is a sign of great faith. We can learn from the leper today and begin our prayers with “IF YOU WISH, LORD.” One thing we can be assured of, is that whatever God’s response is, He will continue to walk with us.
LENTEN REFLECTION FROM FATHER DEN:
Growing During Lent
I have just one question for you as we begin another Lent: Were you ever so moved by the reason of Lent that it changed you for a whole lifetime? Each year there’s a call to personal repentance for our sins. Each year we’re called to walk more closely with Jesus during the most horrific hours of his life and death, sharing finally in the joy of his Resurrection. But so often Lent amounts to only an exercise like following the Piped Piper, making sure to observe closely the Liturgical directives – more out of a sense of duty without recognizing our potential to be renewed and changed, and affected with a whole new attitude toward our Faith and other people and ourselves. But again, has anything about Lent every affected you permanently?
Nobody would suggest that we should skip Lent completely because it doesn’t mean anything to them. And it would be really hard for even the most committed person to sustain Lenten enthusiasm and good will for the entire thirty-eight days of Lent. (I’ll bet even Noah couldn’t tread water for forty days!)
Maybe part of the problem of Lent is that we merely nibble at the edge and never digest the nourishing value of Lent. Lent, I think, is like someone giving you a lump of clay at the same time he gives a piece of clay to an artist. The artist recognizes the potential to create something artistic or valuable. But we would see merely – a lump of clay. It’s all about recognizing the challenge to do something great with God’s gifts.
So, don’t just ENDURE Lent to the finish line, where on Easter we celebrate this beautiful reality: CHRIST HAS DIED – CHRIST IS RISEN! Instead, take your piece of Lenten clay. Make of yourself a NEW LENTEN PERSON!
Father Dennis Meulemans