Tag Archives: Jesus

Friends of the Good Shepherd

Guest post by Estella Young.

I was reflecting on the Gospel of the Found Sheep with my children, when my son asked, “What if the Shepherd lost 99 sheep and only had one left?”

I thought for a bit, and said, “Well, if it’s a big task, maybe he would ask his friends and neighbors to help. Remember how at the end of the story, he asks them to rejoice with him? Since his friends know how much he loves his sheep, they would come help him search for them.”

“Who are Jesus’ friends today?” I asked.

“We are,” my son replied.

So I said to my kids, “We live in a time when many sheep are lost. Since we are friends of Jesus, we should also be helping him look for the lost sheep to bring back to the flock. Let’s take a moment to think about how we can do this.”

Image: PD-US

Come and See

But Nathanael said to him,
“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
—John 1:46

Carlo_Crivelli_055“Come and see.” For Nathanael (also known as the apostle St. Bartholomew), this was the moment when everything shifted, when the great adventure of his life began. These three simple words were an invitation to encounter the person of Jesus Christ, to enter into the all-consuming gaze of the Almighty. Just one interaction with Jesus was enough to change Nathanael’s doubt (“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”) into confident belief (“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”).

We, like Nathanael, may have our doubts about Jesus at times. But often the best way to strengthen our faith is not to debate whether a prophet could come from Nazareth—or, say, whether God could be present within situations of corruption and despair—but to go and meet Jesus directly. This is not to say that we should ignore our intellectual questions about the faith, but rather that we should remember that understanding flows first and foremost from relationship. We can’t truly understand Jesus if we don’t get to know Him. If we bring Him our questions and lay them at His feet, seeking to just be present with Him and allow Him to look at us, we will come alive in His presence. Experiencing Jesus fundamentally changes us, causing a perspective shift that affects everything we do afterward.

Jusepe_de_Ribera,_The_Martyrdom_of_Saint_Bartholomew,_1634And just as Nathanael’s experience resulted from an invitation from his friend, Philip, we ought to remember that our own experience of Jesus is not meant to be kept to ourselves. Just those three simple words—come and see—can change someone’s life forever. If we have been changed by Jesus, others will see the joy He has given us. Our own lives, our works, and our personal stories are what open the eyes of others to see the love of God.


1. Carlo Crivelli, St. Bartholomew / PD-US
2. Jusepe de Ribera, The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew / PD-US

Originally published at Frassati Reflections.

Duc in Altum

I am getting tired of this never-ending job search. I am also getting tired of constantly feeling judged that I do not have a better job. Many people often think it should be easy for me to get a better job or even a career. I try not to let those judgements get to me but it is difficult when I am so eager to get one myself. My mother was kind enough to point out that people do not understand the entire situation and truly it is none of their business. The fact of the matter is I moved to New York almost a year ago not for a job or a career. I moved simply because God told me to with the promise that He would take care of me and He has kept His promise. More important than a career, He has revealed Himself to me and I have grown closer to Him then I ever thought possible. The Gospel today was all about Peter letting Jesus into his boat.

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”

Simon said in reply,

“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.” (Luke 5 1-11)

Peter had such faith in Jesus that he listened and obeyed whatever Jesus asked of him, and as a result he not only got a bounty of fish but he became a “fisher of men” and essentially the first Pope. After reading the Gospel, I am left with the question: will I cooperate with Jesus when He gets into my boat? Once Jesus gets into your boat, He will lead you into the depths. “Duc in altum,” as Saint John Paul II said. It will be dangerous but it will be exciting.

If I am honest with myself, my job has been a true “thorn in my side” but Jesus wants me there because it is a crucial part of my journey. It has nothing to do with the actual job; it has everything to do with the people I interact with and the influence we have on one another. Yesterday a regular customer came up to me and said to me, “I love seeing you here, your aura is always glowing. Did you know that?” I was taken off-guard by this comment, especially since I felt like my aura was close to extinguishing at that moment. She opened up to me about how she had been struggling with some health issues and over the past week she had been starting to decrease her medications. She was clearly in a better state of being, she had never talked to me this much before. She said it was a true miracle, she had been plagued by these side effects of all these medications for years and within only a week she is already seeing a difference. She admitted to me that she does not tell many people about her medical history but she felt comfortable with me and knew I would understand her situation. I felt truly honored and humbled that she opened up to me. Just through that one conversation it is clear why the Lord placed me there at that time. The impact that I had on that woman is more valuable than any career or job that I have been wishing that I could have during this time in New York.

While these interactions are wonderful and inspiring, I still leave my job longing for more. I do desire to be more financially independent and have more freedom. My life is dependent on that paycheck and I don’t like living like that. God always provides but sometimes I wish He would let me provide a little for myself. Of course, Jesus has a beautiful sense of humor and has a way of readjusting my perspective. One day while I was on my break at work, I was sitting in the break room and it was around the time all the mid-shift workers were going home. One coworker came down ranting about wanting to be rich. “When you are rich you can do whatever you want.” It is common knowledge that he has a difficult life, he is on the spectrum and the only reason he still has his job at the store is out of pity. I have had an up and down relationship with this coworker but recently I mostly just feel great sadness for him because there is so much he doesn’t understand. He truly believes that all the “great” people were rich. He ended his rant with, “No one who is is poor ever made anything of themselves.” There were some other coworkers also listening to him and all made the the general statement that this statement wasn’t true. I took it a step further and told him, “Jesus was poor and He changed the world.” There was an actual pause after that. I think I took everyone off-guard and I received a lot of quizzical looks. Finally, as if they were brought out of a trance they all agreed, “You’re right, that is the best example.” Too bad the coworker who was ranting was already halfway out the door and I don’t think he heard me. Regardless, it was not only a reality check for my coworkers but also for me. I have chosen to go into the depths with Jesus Christ; it is not meant to be comfortable and I don’t want it to be.

Originally posted at Kitty in the City.
Image: PD-US

The Mass

Something greater than Jonah is here (Mt 12:41b). I remember when I first read John 6:53-58, I was so touched that tears welled in my eyes. The Word of God spoke out so strongly to me, I never knew why I hadn’t read this before:

“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in me, and I in him.” (Jn 6:54-56)

Indeed, this literal understanding of the passage had so much Truth it was difficult to believe! I remembered anxiously checking some historical and external sources because it was too unbelievable. Lo and behold, all of the early Christians from the time of the Apostles believed in this! I resolved there and then to come home to the Catholic Church. I desired strongly to confess my sins just so that I can receive Jesus again at Mass.

The Mass itself is so rich in reality that there are as many valid theological approaches to it as there are to the whole mystery of Christ himself. The Eucharist is part of the great living mountain which is Christ, a mountain that can be approached from all corners of the world at any Mass celebrated throughout the Catholic Church.

The Mass is no religious service. Prayers, rosaries, or singing songs — those are services. These are something that we do for God, similar to the public praise of any religious denomination. But the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist is not precisely in essence done by man at all.

The Mass is heaven on earth. The earthly Masses we celebrate here are mere prefigurements… a foretaste of the heavenly Mass; that which is the Lamb’s Supper. In Heaven, we celebrate the Eternal Union of the Marriage between Christ the Bridegroom and us, his Church and Bride.

However limited our spiritual insights might be as participants, when we are at Mass, Christ will be there. And we believe this through Faith in Jesus’s Words.