Today is the 4th Sunday of Easter. This particular Sunday is known as Good Shepherd Sunday. We hear in today’s gospel that Jesus is the gate for the sheep. He knows his flock and the flock knows him. Jesus is that Good Shepherd who leads us closer each day to the eternal kingdom of Heaven. A Good Shepherd would lay down his life for the flock entrusted to him. Jesus did that for us! This Easter season is meant to be a time to reflect upon the immense love that the Lord has for us, his flock. Although there are times that we stray away from the path that the Lord has us on, he never does. He will always look for and find that lost sheep.
Traditionally in the city of Rome, the Holy Father would ordain priests for the Diocese of Rome. Of course because of the current pandemic, ordinations in Rome and around the world are being postponed. I invite all of us though to pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood. Priests are meant to be shepherds. They guide the flock that has been entrusted to them. Both Father Kingsley and I are blessed to be your shepherds here at St. Martin dePorres. We try our best each day to be good and holy shepherds. It is with your prayers that God continues to give both of us the strength and the courage to be better shepherds every day! Five years ago on this very day, I was solemnly installed as your Pastor. I remember that day vividly! In my remarks I promised each of you that I would always be a shepherd in the image and likeness of Christ. I hope that I lived up to my promise. In your kindness I ask you to pray for your shepherds here on earth, which include both myself, Father Kingsley, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and our Holy Father Pope Francis.
As we enter into another week of lockdown and social distancing, I want to assure all of you of our thoughts and prayers. We long for the day that we can worship as a community again, but until that day comes let us be safe. Both Father Kingsley and I cannot thank you enough for the outpouring of love and support that each of you have communicated. We are happy that the livestream Masses are renewing for you. I must say that all the credit goes to Father Kingsley since I am not that tech savvy! Thank you also for your financial support, it means a great deal to all of us here at St. Martin dePorres.
Unfortunately, we have lost a few parishioners since the beginning of the pandemic. This past week we held a special prayer service for those who have died. It is our hope that once we are able to gather again as a community we will have a Memorial Mass for those who lost their lives and for the consolation of their family and friends. Let us continue to pray for one another as we grow in the image and likeness of Christ the Good Shepherd.
Wishing you a blessed and peaceful week,
Father Alonzo Q. Cox