Good Shepherd Sunday a reminder that Jesus is always there for His people
Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton encouraged the Catholic community to stay connected with faith, especially during this time. He celebrated the 11 am Sunday Mass on 3 May, in conjunction with Good Shepherd Sunday. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
By Amanda Murthy
The importance of good leadership through the perfect example of Christ, was highlighted by Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton at the 11am Good Shepherd Sunday Mass, marking the sixth week that Perth Catholics tuned into the online Mass due to COVID-19 restrictions still in place.
Concelebrating the Mass with Bishop Sproxton was Cathedral Assistant Priest Father Richard Rutkauskas.
Marking the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Bishop Sproxton encouraged the community to pray for “the shepherds” that have been called by God to give themselves to care and serve the Christian community, and especially the priests and deacons whose role is to assist the Bishops in their vocation as shepherds.
“God, of course, is the shepherd of humanity,” he cited.
“The Lord guards, protects and cares for His people, His sheep.
“The Lord chooses those who in every place and time are given a share in that service of leadership.
“He provides them with the graces of strength, courage and perseverance to give their lives wholeheartedly to this service for their people,” he added.
Echoing the words of Pope Francis on leadership, Bishop Sproxton encouraged the congregation at home to stop and reflect on how they can imitate the example of Jesus as ‘our good shepherd’ who sometimes walks ahead of His flock, sometimes walks behind us and who sometimes walks alongside us.
“If we reflect on our lives to this point, it is possible for us to identify when Jesus walked on ahead of us - There would have been moments when we needed to know what He was asking of us or why it was that we had to move forward into the unknown,” Bishop Sproxton said.
“There have been moments when we needed encouragement to keep going with the plan he has in mind for our Christian communities and us individually, so He walked behind us, keeping us together and focussed.
“And there have been moments when we needed to be reassured that Jesus was walking beside us, gently providing what it was that we needed,” Bishop Sproxton went on to explain.
St Mary’s Cathedral chorister delivering the psalm during the 11 am Sunday Mass on 3 May, in conjunction with Good Shepherd Sunday. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.
Encouraging the community to reflect on the events that have brought happiness and joy, sadness or unsettled feeling, and try to recognise the presence of Christ in the midst of those moments.
“Is there a sense that we have been consoled and are at peace, no matter what we had to go through at the time?”
“The fruit of reflecting on the events of our lives is that we may grow in trust in Jesus, the Risen Lord.
Imitating the words Jesus would often say to His first disciples, “Do not be afraid. I will be with you,” Bishop Sproxton reiterated that our trust in Jesus builds upon His words that He is with us, and through recalling the specific examples from our lives where His power, and grace were at work.
“Some of these experiences will be very clear; others will be less so, maybe because the outcomes were not as we wished or expected, and there may still be more work to be done to see the grace or gift in what happened,” he stated.
Bishop Sproxton concluded his homily by urging the community to stay connected with their faith, and draw spiritual nourishment from the many sources at hand, especially during this time, when ‘we are unable to gather for Mass in our parishes.’
“Try to remember that your bishops and priests are celebrating the Mass each day for everyone in the Archdiocese.
“It might be good to pray the Prayer of Spiritual Communion each day knowing that the Eucharist is being celebrated for you.
“Reading the Liturgy of the Word of the daily Mass will give a moment to be connected to the Mass, even done at a time when Mass is not being celebrated.
“Taking time out to be quiet with Jesus, simply in His presence, uniting your spirit with His, will help you with the rest of the day.
“The pastures that our Good Shepherd leads us to will be rich and plentiful because He will be there with us.”