The Happy Priest on Good Shepherd Sunday: We Only Have One Life to Give for Others
My dear friends, the celebration of the Easter season continually reminds us that Jesus is truly alive. He is truly with us. Because he is truly with us, we can always be filled with peace and joy no matter what challenges we are dealing with.
"Grant, we pray, O Lord, that we may always find delight in these paschal mysteries, so that the renewal constantly at work within us may be the cause of our unending joy" (Prayer Over The Offerings, Fourth Sunday of Easter).
The famous Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) in his Divine Comedy, placed the people who allowed themselves to be controlled by sadness in the lowest depths of hell. One would consider proud or lustful people to be in their place, but Dante's insight certainly gives us food for thought.
Sadness is more destructive to the soul than pride or lust or any of the seven deadly sins because it causes someone to simply check out of life. When we struggle with our sins, at least we can keep on fighting to overcome that sin. We can still be filled with hope and joy as we struggle. However, the person who is consumed by sadness cannot escape the darkness of despair and gloom.
Easter is not a time to have an on-going pity party. People controlled by sadness are only giving in to their egotism and self-indulgence. Yes, it is true that there will be many moments of sorrow in our lives. However, Christian joy must pierce through the darkness and illuminate our entire emotional life. Remember, for us Christians, every day is Easter Sunday.
We are continually challenged by so many difficulties. This is why we must keep our eyes fixed on the promise. "We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."
We are a people of faith. We are a people of the Resurrection. We are an Easter people. We must not be consumed by the craziness of a world falling apart around us. We must allow the realities of our faith to fill us with profound joy and hope. Meditate on the Second Coming, the glorified body and eternal life in heaven. The Scriptures promise us a new heaven and a new earth. We will be there with a glorified body! How can we be filled with sadness?
However, the certainty of these eschatological realities cannot excuse us from our Christian duty to make this world a better place for everyone. Go out into the world and radiate joy and peace.
Like Jesus, the Good Shepherd, live your life for others with self-less love. "I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep"
The Lord is truly alive, He is with us. There is never any excuse to be consumed by sadness. Let your life be filled with joy and peace. Radiate joy and peace to world so much in need of true happiness and self-less love.
Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX. Visit him on the web to learn more about his book, homilies and audio podcasts.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Sunday homily, Easter, Father James Farfaglia, Christian hope, Easter joy, peace, love, gift
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