Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is called the Good Shepherd Sunday. In the Gospel, Jesus introduces himself as the “Good Shepherd.” Jesus claims that as Good Shepherd he knows his sheep and loves them so much that he is ready to die for them. The Gospel text offers us both comfort and challenge. The comforting Good News is that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows us, provides for us and loves us. The challenge is for us to become good shepherds to those entrusted to our care. During this month of April in the Easter season we are asked to be shepherds to those born with specialties. I have seen people having a hard time accepting the realities of life. It can be a death or sickness or any tragedies. What shall I say to those people who are rebellious to the happenings in their lives? I would turn to the Bible. The Bible is so great it has answers to all our questions. It’s just, we have to look for them. The Gospel of Luke chapter 10 verses 8 says “eat what is set before you”. What does that mean? We don’t know what life brings to our table. It is good that we teach our mind to accept whatever comes in our life.
I believe in miracles but most of the time miracles are not happening the way we think they should. Do you know the meaning of the word miracle? It means alternatives are possible. But most of the time no alternatives are possible to the things happening in our life. I would like to share with you the story of Harry and Miera and their child Maya with severe autism.
They heard of a retreat center where a lot of miracles happen. Miera and Harry took Maya there for a five days retreat and healing ministry. Each day at the healing service when the priest prayed, Harry and Miera laid their hands on the head of Maya and prayed, “God heal our child!” But nothing happened. Days passed by and now on the last day of retreat so far there was no difference in Maya. They prayed very hard with deep faith, but no sign of a miracle. That day a priest came in to preach he told this story: “God had a child in Heaven with some specialties and her name was Maya. God searched for a family where Maya would be well taken care of. God found Miera and Harry and gave His child, Maya, to them”. Tears broke through the eyes of Miera and Harry. Miera said to Harry, “Maya is God’s Child and He gave us her for we are special and he trusts us. Let us take care of her as the most precious gift from God”. They took Maya home without any miracle but with a heart to accept the reality in a beautiful way. Now they really understood the meaning of the words special child, the “special” that was needed, was a “special” love, the very special love of God. That is the great miracle, “Eat what is set before you”. I was saying this story in a church as part of the homily for the feast of St. Anthony. I had to say it for five services on the same day. I noticed a young man in the front pew for all the services. I got really nervous for saying the same thing over and over again. After the fifth service he came to me and said, “My name is George, I am a professor at the nearby college I used to come for the morning service but after listening to the story of Maya I wanted to hear it again and again so I stayed for the whole day”. I asked him what that was disturbing him. He said, “I loved a girl and I married her. But soon after the marriage she became mentally depressed. Doctors said that it was irreversible. She may have to live in deep depression all though her life. I hate everything and everyone now, I hate the whole world. I asked God why did he do this to me? I did not get any answer. But I got a light from you after hearing your story of Maya. I applied it to my life. God had the girl with him in heaven. He was looking for someone who would take good care of her. God found me and he gave me her as my wife. I have to take good care of her for she is God’s girl”. It happened years ago, still she is the same but George clearly understands what it means: “Eat what is set before you”.
We have no idea what God sets on our table. Whatever it is, he trusts us and he gives us his grace to survive. We know the story of St. Paul. He said he had a thorn in his body and he prayed to God to take it away from his life. Not once but three times he prayed. Three times praying means it is a complete prayer. But God said let it be there, “for my grace is sufficient for you”. We all have our own crosses to bear and maybe we all have a thorn in our heart. Pray not to take it away but be given the grace to deal with it. It is not easy to accept the hardships of life. Even Jesus prayed, shedding blood, to take away the cup. It was not taken from him but he was comforted by an angel from heaven. The challenge is that we should be good shepherds to those entrusted to our care. They are there in our life because God counts on us to be a strengthening angel for them.
God Bless You,