Fr. Rick, osc, invites you to read his Homily from Monday morning Mass:
There is wideness in God’s mercy, and Peter is ready to acknowledge the surprising and undeniable work of the Holy Spirit among the Gentiles. Yesterday Peter presented Jesus as the Shepherd and Guardian of our Souls, a favored and ancient image. Here is an invitation to reflect on our image of God.
In a recent Pew survey, self-identified Catholics were asked, "Which comes closest to your view of God?: God is a person with whom people can have a relationship, or God is an impersonal force?"
- Only 48% were certain that the God they believe in is a God with whom they can have a personal relationship.
- I don’t know the percentage of those who were not so certain of a personal relationship with God but were hopeful of such; still, the lower percentage of those certain is notable
Here we are on our way toward God together, believing and engaging in and supporting one another in pursuing a personal relationship with God—what a blessing! There are so many appealing images of God that come from scripture, from the tradition of the church fathers, from theologians, spiritual writers and composers over the ages into the present.
Joyce Rupp has written a wonderful book, "Fragments of Your Ancient Name." I purchased this book as a resource for directees who are working with their image of God. In 365 daily meditations, she lists a name of God, from where it comes, with an accompanying prayerful reflection. April 4 is the day of the name “Shepherd,” based on Psalm 23. Joyce writes:
I have been in that bleak valley
When the last bit of joyfulness
Was sucked out of my spirit
By the rippling winds of desolation.
In those times of extended anguish
The memory of green pastures
With you shepherding my way
Brought me strength to go on.
Shepherd, now, others in need
As they stumble on their dark road.
Today, I unite my heart with those in gloomy valleys.
Each one of these 365 names invites us to ponder an inviting, eye opening image of God. This is a good thing as we come to know better the one with whom we are in relationship, even as we know ourselves differently.