- Sunday’s plans
- Our slow return to usual
- A Re-scheduled “Listening Groups” date…
- Jesus’ “I AM the Way”…
Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family (and friends)
The State of Texas is returning to pre-Covid-19 “normal” at a brisk pace! Suits me fine…but, I know there are those who hope we aren’t being presumptuously eager…given the on-going deadliness of this Virus that besets us. Here’s to everyone using God-given common sense, informed bravery, and a touch of a sense of humor!
What’s GSAC doing to come out of our Covid-pandemic? “Hear ye, Hear ye…”…..
(A) SUNDAY’S PLANSLast Sunday, May 5th (“Good Shepherd Sunday”) our parish had its first Sunday morning “live” Mass since the middle of March! We had an attendance of 24. It was so great to see all the members of GSAC who were there for the 9:15 Mass. I missed you all (who came), and still miss you all (who have not yet come back). I did not encourage folks to stay for refreshment fellowship after the Mass (although, a few did…and that was just fine). I don’t plan on returning to the full Sunday schedule (Mass/Refreshments/Christian Formation Class), until the first Sunday in June.
So: this coming Sunday, May 10th, we will continue to have our Sunday Mass (9:15 a.m.). I hope that if you have decided that you are well enough to be amongst a larger group, you will consider joining us. Since (alas?), we don’t typically have more than 25% of the total Church buildings pew positions taken up on a given Sunday, we are not limited as to how many we can have together in the Nave of the Church for Mass. On the other hand, if you continue to feel that it is NOT advisable for you to be “out in public” yet, please follow your instinct!
In addition to the Sunday Mass (“live”), we will continue to pre-record the Mass on Saturday so that you can view it on YouTube the day after (i.e. 5/10)
A hint to accessing the pre-recorded Mass: if you don’t wish to negotiate the link to YouTube, please consider simply getting on GSAC’s Web site, and click on the obvious “Easter 5” Mass pre-recording which will be there by Saturday night. You may do that at: gsac.church And, if you are enjoying the “Youtube” masses, please let us know that. I’m very proud of Mr. BenBowen (our chief techno-advisor), and my own dear wife Sara (ably assisting him) for the excellent job they are doing each Saturday. One of the advantages of persevering in the pre-recordings is that people worldwide may accidentally (or intentionally) land on our YouTube site and hear the Gospel and participate in holy worship.
(B) OUR SLOW RETURN TO “USUAL”Beyond our abbreviated Sunday mornings, GSAC is returning to its daily worship and bible study schedule.
That means, in addition to our 8 a.m. Morning Prayer (which never stopped…even during the pandemic’s first rude arrival), we have restored our two Daily Masses (Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 pm). Both of these are in the Main Church, and so social-distancing is easily available. As with Sundays’ Masses, the Blessed Sacrament is distributed in one kind only (per the Bishop’s Pastoral Directive)…the Bread of Heaven. All of you are most welcome to attend either or both of those. Since it will be a smaller celebration than on Sunday, the Daily Mass might be a good way for you to “get your feet wet” in coming back out of Sheltering at Home.
(C) A RE-SCHEDULED “LISTENING GROUP” ‘SAVE THE DATE’If you remember, GSAC was planning a “Listening Group” Saturday for March 21st. 34 of our parishioners have signed up for 6 group of five or six each. Then: the Covid-19 pandemic caused us to postpone. I am happy to announce that our Consultant/Coach Fr. Ron McCrary has agreed to re-schedule the Listening Groups forSaturday, June 20th. Those of you were signed up for 3/21/20, are automatically re-signed up for 6/20/20! So: please “Save the Date”. And, if you did not sign up, but want to now?No problem. Simply call the office and we can add you to one of the groups of five; or- if there are enough of you add-ons- we can create a 7th LG. This event is a crucial opportunity for GSAC to take stock of who/where we are now, and how/who we will be as we live in to our parish’s future…under God’s Grace, with the inspiration and power of His Holy Spirit. Please pray for this June 20th time together in the Lord.More detailed info. will be sent to you early in June.(D) JESUS’ “I AM THE WAY”In closing: Here is a copy of the little article that will be in Sunday’s bulletin….
“Jesus is the Life”: Resurrection Life after Death
The 5th Sunday in Easter brings us one of Jesus’ most well-known self-disclosures:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes to Father except by me”
We are accustomed to hearing that this claim by Jesus means that no one else is the way, or the truth, or the life. Neither Buddha, nor Mohammed, nor Krishna, nor Moses, nor any other mere man or woman who ever lived can make the claim that Jesus of Nazareth made…and made it stick!
And certainly, the exclusivity of Jesus as our all-in-all is important. In fact, without it, we have just another guru…just another “holy man”. The resurrection of Christ from the dead proves that He is above all others. No other man ever came back from bodily death. Every other founder of a religion decayed in the grave. Only our Lord and Savior Jesus conquered death and rose again to live forever.
Just as importantly, Jesus is the source of OUR eternal life.
“What sort of life?”, you might ask.
In the original languages, “bios” is the word that describes molecular, physical life.
“Zoe” is the word that describes the higher, everlasting life which only resides where God is. Zoe’ is the very well-spring of life itself…more than just breath and a beating heart. In Christ Jesus, we see both bios and zoe’ raised to everlasting Glory. Our “life” in Christ continues to be a physical, biological reality. In addition, we receive- through Christ’s death and resurrection- the very source of God’s kind of Life. Though we will one day breath our last, and our grieving loved ones will bewail the coming decay of our “bios” life, Christians know that the “zoe’” Life which Jesus has injected into the world by His Incarnation, Life, Death & Resurrection will one day raise our lowly bodies to the heights of Heaven itself. (Read I Corinthians Chapter 15 for St. Paul’s beautiful exposition of what our resurrection will be).
So, when Jesus proclaims in today’s Gospel reading , “ I am…the Life”, He is truly saying to you and me, “I am…YOUR Life”.
The 40 Days of Easter-tide give us the priceless promises of Jesus. Those who have been baptized into His Death and Resurrection have it all: His Way, His Truth, and His Life.
Enjoy the Gifts of God! And: share them with others!!
Fr. Stuart Smith