Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

4/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As a Christian people, we are to imitate Jesus by living our lives just as he did.

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 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

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Sunday homily, Easter, Father James Farfaglia, Christian hope, Easter joy, peace, love, gift


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - One of my favorite movies is The Delta Force.  American tourists are hijacked by Arab terrorists who hold the hostages in Beirut.  Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris lead an elite team of U.S. Special Forces that rescue the endangered travelers. 

At the beginning of the tragedy, the two Arab terrorists aboard the jetliner begin to separate the few Jewish tourists from the rest of the hostages.  One of the most moving moments of the film is when Fr. William O'Malley, a priest from Chicago played by George Kennedy, gets up from his seat and walks into the First Class compartment where the Jews are being held. 

Kennedy courageously walks into the compartment where he is disdainfully met by the leading terrorist.

The terrorist asks what his name is and Kennedy responds that his name is William O'Malley.  Perplexed by the situation, the terrorist asks what the priest wants. He responds that since he is a Catholic priest and a follower of Jesus Christ, that he too is Jewish.  "If you take one, you have to take us all," answers the priest who willingly accompanies the Jewish hostages. 

"I am the good shepherd.  A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10: 11). 

The main part of the Holy Land was a large central plateau about 35 miles long.  The ground was for the most part rough and rocky.  It was impossible for sheep just to stay in one area for grazing.  Large areas for grazing simply did not exist.  Every flock had to have a shepherd who led his flock every day to places where the sheep could eat. 

The life of a shepherd was very difficult.  A flock of sheep never grazed without his presence and therefore, the shepherd was on duty every day of the week.  Since the sheep always had to travel in order to find grass to eat, they were never left alone.  Sheep could get lost, or they could be attacked by wolves or stolen by robbers. 

Sheep were seldom used for regular food by the people of the Holy Land; rather sheep were cultivated for the use of their wool.  Thus, the shepherd was with his sheep for a very long time.  He gave each one of them a name, and they all knew his voice.  In fact, it is said that each shepherd had a peculiar way of speaking to the sheep that allowed them to know that he was their shepherd.

During the warm weather, it was common for the sheep to spend the night away from the village farm.  The shepherd watched over them throughout the night.  In these circumstances, the sheep stayed in open areas surrounded by a low rock wall. 

The sheep entered and left through an open space which had no door or gate of any kind.  During the night, the shepherd would sleep stretched out within the empty space so that no sheep could get out except by crossing over his body.  At the same time, a wolf or a robber could not get in, except by crossing over his body as well.  Here we can see a prime example of how the shepherd would give his life for his sheep. 

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  The Easter Season is a continual celebration of the one central mystery of Christianity; that Jesus gave his life for us by dying on the Cross.  He saved us from our sins.  "There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved" (Acts of the Apostles, 4: 12). 

Applied to our practical lives, the message is clear.  Whatever our state in life may be, we are all called to shepherd the sheep that have been entrusted to our care. 

Shepherding a diocese, a parish, or a family is very demanding.  Dedication, commitment, sacrifice and vigilance are needed every day.  Just like Jesus the Good Shepherd, shepherds are called to love unconditionally.

"By the oblation of his Body, he brought the sacrifice of the old to fulfillment in the reality of the Cross and, by commending himself to you for our salvation, showed himself the Priest, the Altar, and the Lamb of sacrifice" (Roman Missal, Preface V of Easter).

Despite the many challenges of modern life, diocesan families, parish families and families living in neighborhoods are vibrant, healthy, happy and strong when these families are led by people who are true shepherds, shepherds who lovingly tend their sheep. 

If we are going to be true disciples of the Good Shepherd, we must forget ourselves completely and be totally dedicated.  Jesus calls us to love one another unconditionally with self-less love.  "I am the good shepherd.  A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10: 11). 

As a Christian people, we are to imitate Jesus by living our lives just as he did. 

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.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope Francis at risk of an assassination attempt by Islamic State Watch

Image of There was an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981 by Turk Mehmet Ali Agca. That Pope later forgave his attacker.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis at risk of an assassination attempt by ISIL'Band of criminals' could have Pope Francis in its sights prior to his visits to Albania, TurkeyCatholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)Iraq's ambassador to the Holy See warns that there are credible threats against ... continue reading


Patriarchs ask faithful to help 'save Christianity in the Middle East' Watch

Image of Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan prayed during an ecumenical service in Washington last week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Five Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs from the Middle East urged Westerners to take action to help ensure that Christians and other minorities can remain in the region. "Christians are not (just) looking for humanitarian aid. They are looking for humanitarian ... continue reading


With just six months to live, news anchorman finds comfort with God Watch

Image of Dave Benton announced on his Illinois show that he had only six months left to live after a long battle with brain cancer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Illinois news anchorman with Champaign WCIA-TV shared heartbreaking news with his viewers on September 11, revealing that after a lengthy battle with cancer, he had only six months to live. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 51-year-old anchorman, Dave ... continue reading


Did a Catholic Online candle contribute to a miracle? Here's a yes!

Image of Did a prayer candle have a role in a recent miracle?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has received many comments thanking us for sharing the prayers of the faithful. Catholic Online has a vibrant prayer community and we are happy to report another miracle. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Mika T.* sent an email to Catholic Online ... continue reading


Pope Francis denounces ongoing global conflict as 'piecemeal' World War III Watch

Image of Pope Francis, who has often condemned the concept of war in God's name, said it would be legitimate for the international community to use force to stop

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his visit to the Redipuglia monument, the resting place of 1000,000 Italian soldiers killed during World War I, Pope Francis condemned ongoing conflicts across the globe. "Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep. Even today, after the second ... continue reading


Fr Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Watch

Image of Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D. is the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation.

By Fr Peter M. J. Stravinskas,Ph.D., S.T.D.

Every cross borne by any believer in history gains meaning and becomes life-giving when it is brought into a relationship with the Cross, the Cross from which Jesus reigned as the King of Love and over which He triumphed in His glorious Resurrection.  The ... continue reading


Two U.S. priests appointed by Pope Francis to address clergy sexual abuse Watch

Image of Father Oliver had previously served as a judge and promoter of justice in Boston tribunals and as a consultant to the Boston archdiocesan review board.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Addressing the sexual abuse of minors by clergy within the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has appointed two U.S. priests to top positions at the Vatican. Father Robert W. Oliver, from Boston and Jesuit Father Robert J Geisinger, a member of the Chicago-Detroit ... continue reading


The truth about climate change

Image of Pope Benedict is known as the 'Green Pope' because of statements he has made on the environment. Pope Francis is also said to be working on an encyclical about the environment.

By Tony Magliano

"Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change .  loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the ... continue reading


Cardinal George compares forcing of sexual agenda to Sharia law Watch

Image of Cardinal George compared American culture and government to Sharia law in the way it treats mainstream Christians.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cardinal George has criticized the imposition of a "public creed" to force acceptance of sexual depravity across the nation, enforced with the power of law. Cardinal George compared the forcing to Sharia law in some countries. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Head ... continue reading


Jesus Spent the Night In Prayer. Maybe We Should Follow His Example Watch

Image of Prayer is the most effective form of action for a Christian.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

What jumped off the page as I proclaimed the Gospel is the importance and priority of prayer. Before Jesus made this historic and eternal decision he spent the entire night in prayer. I know that in His Sacred humanity he shows us the pattern for our own lives. ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 15:1-11
1 I want to make quite clear to you, brothers, what ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 28
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:36-50
36 One of the Pharisees invited him to a meal. When ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 18th, 2014 Image

St. Joseph of Cupertino
September 18: St. Joseph was born at Cupertino, in the diocese of Nardo in the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter