Pastor's Column, Sunday, July 19, 2020

Submitted by St. Mary on Sun, 07/19/2020 - 2:02pm

Dear Parishioners:

   While I am home at the parish in time to celebrate Sunday Masses, I have spent the past week in Pennsylvania, visiting my sister, Trisha, and my brother, Fran and their families.  As many would relate in regard to summer plans, the pace of the activity this time around was markedly different—in the face of the virus that has swept our world.  Honestly, there are benefits. 

   I usually face the temptation of squeezing in the maximum of excursions and diversions.  This year, highlights of the week included: observing deer in the yard of a Pocono mountain weekend retreat (the photo herein); placing some leftovers out for the local foxes and waiting for them to arrive for feeding; and watching the nighttime sky for a possible sighting of the new NEOWISE comet. Do you sense a theme?  Observing…waiting…watching…and it is not even Advent!

   I recall a talk given at the retreat in my sophomore year of college seminary. Fr. Scott Seethaler OFM Cap. addressed our typical language of “take.”  “I am going to TAKE a shower.”  “I TOOK a walk.”  He asked, “When was the last time you gave yourself over to a shower?”  It is amazing how a well-placed question stays with you over many decades.

   I often hear people say, in reference to their dogs, “I am not sure who is taking whom for the walk?”  Well, how about if, for the sake of reflection, we replace a canine figure for a Divine being.  How receptive am I, in reality, to allowing the Lord to lead me?  Do I truly allow him to steer the ship of my life?  Is He truly Lord of my life, or do I treat him as a highly-honored-yet ultimately-relegated personal assistant?

   Psalm 23 rolls off the tongue rather easily.  Living it is a challenge.  When we say, “We will get through this together,” as appropriate as it is for us to acknowledge the efforts of humans, may we grasp the deepest reality. It is the Holy Spirit who is meant to hold the true authority …we are continuously learning to listen and obey HIS directions.  Here are the lyrics of a traditional hymn, penned by Henry Baker a variation of the Old Testament text applying the title, “Shepherd,” to the One who from eternity is destined to bear it: Jesus Christ.


The King of love my Shepherd is, Whose goodness faileth never:

I nothing lack if I am His, And He is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow, My ransomed soul He leadeth,

And where the verdant pastures grow, With food celestial feedeth.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill, With Thee, dear Lord, beside me;

Thy rod and staff my comfort still, Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread’st a table in my sight; Thy unction grace bestoweth;

And, oh, what transport of delight, From Thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days, Thy goodness faileth never;

Good Shepherd, may I sing Thy praise, Within Thy house forever.



                                 Fr. Stephen


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