Sunday, April 26, 2015

About Those Sheep

Based on today's Gospel from John, I wanted to learn a bit more about sheep and shepherds to feel more in-tune with Jesus' teaching.  Here are some of the things l learned:

  • Sheep are useless by themselves.  Completely.  Which is why shepherds pay such close attention to their flock.  (It is no irony that humans are also useless by themselves, and also need The Good Shepherd.)
  • When a sheep starts to wander off, the shepherd may use a slingshot to shoot pebbles at it to get its attention.  (Think of all the signs that God sends our way when we wander off...)
  • Sheep have excellent hearing.  Which, of course, helps them to know their Shepherd's voice.
  • They can, however, also remember human faces for over a year. This is despite them being considered one of the dumbest animals on the planet.  (New research, by the way, disputes this, and states they could be as intelligent as monkeys.)
  • When wolves attack a sheep, they often nip at it from behind.  Wolves are also capable of killing an entire flock, and scattering the remains over a large area.  Some experts believe they are capable of doing this just for fun.
  • The right shepherd will lead the flock to better pasture (which was not always easy to find in Israel).  The wrong shepherd would lead the flock to a slaughterhouse for personal gain.  
  • I read one article that stated from time to time, a sheep would get carried away by a river when crossing.  After being rescued by the shepherd, and returned to its flock, the other sheep would surround the shepherd and express their thankfulness with sounds of joy.  (This immediately brought to mind the parable of the Prodigal Son.)
  • Even more fascinating, I read a story about a shepherd who did not have to count his sheep anymore.  He knew by "sense" if one had wandered off.  (And yet another one about a shepherd who could identify his sheep blindfolded just by feeling their face!)

Prayers that we always follow Jesus, our Good Shepherd, and that we always recognize His voice in a world of wolves.  God Bless you.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Road to Emmaus ... The First Mass?

Was the Road to Emmaus the first Mass as we know it?

It might just have been.

For starters, there are two disciples gathered together.  

Second, along with the unrecognized Christ, they discuss the Old Testament and the events of Jesus' life, including His death and Resurrection.  We obviously do that in our first and second readings, and our Gospel. 

Third, it is clear that Jesus is interpreting these events for the disciples, which is akin to the homily our priests give.

Fourth, the disciples do not realize they are in the presence of Jesus ... just like some people at our Masses today!

Fifth, and most powerful, Jesus breaks the bread with them.  This is the highlight of their journey, and is also the highlight of our Mass.

And lastly, after their encounter, the disciples go forth and proclaim the Resurrection of the Lord ... which is exactly what we are supposed to do after our Mass!

I hope you are all having a joyous Easter season!  God Bless you!