For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
This past Sunday we celebrated Good Shepherd Sunday. Too often, it has been narrowly defined as a one-for-one correlation to Shepherd=Priest. In this era of shared governance, I often wonder if we who have been baptized see our own daily lives as a Shepherd responsible for our own flock, the family–or our own own sphere of influence at work. The image of the Good Shepherd is a fantastic image for all of us to consider in our lived vocations as Chri
stians. Recently, I was on a trip and noticed a beautiful flowering tree–it got to me thinking about the significance of a community and the relationship with the individual, especially in light of all of us considering our role as Shepherds of a flock.
Have you ever stopped and noticed closely a flowering tree? From a distance the flowering tree just looks like a huge white, purple or yellow burst of color, however if you look close enough, each individual flower that makes up that burst of color there is a unique bloom. The unique bloom contributes to the overall beauty and flourishing of the tree. The individual bloom is defined in the midst of surrounding flowering tree.
The Catholic Christian tradition is a community made up of individuals who contribute to the overall beauty of the ministry. Each of us, no matter our position, contributes to the overall healing and shepherding in the community that we serve. Our community is made up of individuals who serve as a communal ministry. As we look forward to the Feast of Pentecost in the next couple of weeks we are reminded, that the first fulfillment of Jesus’ promise at Pentecost was Community.
To be a person is to have a story. Without my story, I have no identity. My story is made up of others who are the markings along the journey and help make up my individual story. Each individual story contributes to the universal story of humanity. Sometimes in the midst of the noise, we need to take notice of the individual stories in the midst of the community. In doing so the crowd become people, co-workers become friends and our work becomes ministry–shepherding all those around us.
— How has my story contributed to the overall Christian story? How has the Christian story marked my journey along the way?
–When has my community helped carry me through difficult times and celebrated with me the joy-filled times? How am I assisting others in either carrying or celebrating part of their stories?
–How has my community helped revealed and embodied God’s presence in my life and in the community?