jesus-good-shepherd-06Dear Brother and Sisters,

This Sunday’s Gospel text comes from words of Jesus during the Last Supper regarding the eventual return of Jesus to his Father in heaven. Christ came from the Father as God’s ambassador with the mission to reveal God’s love and care for the human race. It is God’s desire that all be redeemed in the blood of the Lamb of God, who is Christ, Second person of the Blessed Trinity.

The return of Jesus to the Father entails for the followers of Jesus a separation. A separation, though, that also places them in a special relationship to God and commissioned to continue the work of Christ in the world. We alive today are inheritors of the same work by the lives we live, the words we speak. “Proclaim the Gospel with your life”, followers of Jesus have been told from of old and right to the present. As another phrase, attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi expresses it, “Always proclaim the Gospel, and if you must, use words.”

Even with the return of Jesus to the Father at the Ascension, followers of Christ must not be distressed at the prospect of separation from the Master. Christ in fact is present in a new way and also the way to the Father’s house. What matters most is faith in Christ who came from God and returned to God and who never leaves the flock untended. God is always a Good Shepherd, as we reflected on last Sunday.

CaptureAs for the first followers of Jesus, so for us, faith in Christ, risen, ascended, yet present, is for all a guarantee of communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Our love for the Holy Trinity must prove itself especially by faithfulness to the mission Jesus entrusted to his followers, namely, love for one another as Jesus has loved us!

Hopefully we find in the words of Jesus at the Last Supper much food for thought and encouragement in our inevitably less than perfect or idyllic lives. Jesus puts the matter in terms of, “Let your hearts not be distressed.” In addition, Jesus says, “Peace to you, Shalom.” Belonging to Christ does not mean the absence of problems, setbacks, tragedies or death, but having the assurance and comfort of Christ within us and beside us in whatever we undergo.

Father Jesus