WELCOME TO ST. FRANCIS
St. Francis of Assisi Parish is a Christ-centered community. We strive to be a warm, friendly and caring parish family, where the gifts and talents of all, young and old, are recognized and graciously used to nurture others, and to worship together in a vibrant and spirit-filled liturgy. We will go forth healed, affirmed and refreshed to meet the challenge of life in our spiritual growth.
From your Pastor
My Dear People in Christ,
When Jesus spoke the words of our Gospel this week, He was using an image familiar to the Pharisees and the others who were listening. This audience was familiar with the Scriptures, so they could not have missed the obvious reference He made to the prophecy of Ezekiel, chapter 34, where it says: For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. . . . I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord GOD. “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment. . . .”
False Messiahs and religious counterfeits had blossomed abundantly in the decades before Jesus came and adds additional context to this situation. So, while Jesus was addressing the whole group, He wasn’t talking about everyone before Him, just those pretenders, who presented themselves as the Messiah, or as the new answer to the ancient questions, which had been haunting Israel for centuries.
The good thing is, according to Jesus, that the Sheep did not hear those false shepherds. The dangers of false teachers and bad theology still exist. The wolves are still out there. Their purpose is still the same, to steal the sheep, or destroy the flock, or kill the sheep. Such wolves exist in the form of those who insist that we are all Christians, without specifying what the limits of that declaration are.
But Jesus tells us that He is the Good Shepherd. His identity is confirmed by the cross – that He laid down His life for the sheep. Others, who come to take advantage, will not lay down their lives, but will flee in times of danger, and leave the sheep to the wolves. The word, “wolves,” refers to any of the dangers confronting the people of God. They can be financial, social, false doctrines…. anything or anybody that comes to threaten the people of God by hiding the truth of the gospel from them.
The sheep of the Good Shepherd live in perfect safety because He will never let them go. He lays down His life for the sheep and leads them, guides them and protects them. But the thing that is so striking here is that the sheep of the Good Shepherd know Him and follow Him. If you are His, you can hear His voice – and when you listen and follow the voice of your Savior, no one, no strange teaching, nothing can snatch you out of His hand.
I wish you and your families a blessed week ahead.
Fr. Edison Bernavas I. C