Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

John 10:11-18 Wolves and Sheep

John 10:11-18  Wolves and Sheep
(Click here for readings)
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.  A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.”
Fashions come and go, but being fashionable does not.  Music artists come and go, but the Sound of Music lingers on.  Empires and emperors of great lands come and go, but the land doesn’t. Like so many things in life, faith in God may come and go but God does not go away.  Christ’s faith in us remains solid, like a rock, even when ours is blasted and scattered.
Fortunately, the Catholic Church has never gone out of style; the reason being it has never been in style.  The music artists singing her praises with so much beauty may come and go, but her tune has never changed.   She remains forever out of tune; off key; off beat.  The goose stepping soldiers marching from the East as well as the West (unified only by their opposition to her) thought they had what it took to knock The Church off her feet.  But two feet on the ground are better than one swinging in the air.  It turns out they never had the lasting power that Mother Church has commanded; and that is a great mystery considering she has always been, at worst, out of step with everyone; lagging far behind the times, and at best, stepping on powerful men’s and women’s toes. 
The Good Shepherd defends his own, his flock.  He knows what exactly lies ahead of them:  Wolves.  So He speaks and we listen.  But not all do.  He directs and we follow.  But not all do.  Yes, Emperors come and go, enemies come and go and even lambs come and go.  But wolves seem to be different.  They always seem to be around us.  I forgot to mention that there is one more thing that never seems to change and that is wolves; wolves dressed in Shepherd’s clothing. 
All wolves, like some people, will do anything to survive.
The world is an open stage and everyone is competing for Christ’s role.  The field is open and everyone is competing to be the Good Shepherd.  But they are all frauds.  They are all wolves in Christ’s clothing. 
Recently, Dan Savage, an active homosexual and a self-described “cultural Catholic”, was the keynote speaker for a large group of young American journalists attending a convention on the subject of bullying.  Mr. Savage was invited to be a good shepherd to this flock of high school students.  But for most of his talk, this Crusader for bullies behaved just like a true bully.  He divided his classmates (audience) and bullied a certain group; in this case, the Christians.  This modern day Lord of the Flies hurled insult upon insult upon an innocent group of kids.  He insulted their Sacred Scriptures.  He insulted, using profanity and vulgarity, their beliefs.  He created such a hostile division among the students that some cheered while others walked out.  Isn’t that what bullies do?  Not only did he ruin these kids day, but he insulted their parents and educators that invited him; that hoped he would have been a good shepherd of these souls.  He insulted intellectuals by taking a “fundamentalist Christians” point of view of homosexuality and placing that label on all Christians.  Could we not do the same with homosexuals?  Could we not take the nun-dressing homosexuals or stone throwing homosexuals in California and label them all like that?
Of course, Mr. Savage apologized, just in the nick of time.  But he did not apologize to Christians.  Instead, he apologized to the feeble minded organizers of this event.   I say feeble minded because these weak minded organizers, instead of calling him out for his bigoted comments, decided to put a convenient spin on them.  They said that this wolf in sheep’s clothing had given the students “an educational opportunity” to be journalists. 
There you have it!  Here’s a real life difference between “a good shepherd” and “a hired man”.  The organizers, like too many educators today, are not at all interested in shepherding.  Rather, they are in it for the money.  Christ said, “A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf and runs away.”  
This reminds me of another recent episode.  A middle school science teacher was dismissed after it was learned that she starred in a pornographic movie.  The school dismissed her from teaching not for moral or ethical reasons, but because “she might be a distraction for her students.”  Oh the things we will say when our very own children are not in danger of corruption.
When I used to work at Kodak, we were told to attack issues (ideas), not individuals.  But what happens if you don’t even bother attacking the issues?  The answer is pretty obvious now at Kodak:  Bankruptcy.  And that is exactly the state of our families, schools, cities, states and nation.  We are a bankrupt society.
“Tolerant” people insist that they only attack issues.  But they don’t.  They attack people.  And they attack people because they really don’t want to talk about the issues. 
That’s what happened to Jesus.  That’s exactly what is happening to Christians today.


  1. Wow, I agree with you 100%. I'm disgusted with the entire Dan Savage stunt (gag!!). What is this "cultural Catholic" nonsense? Ridiculous! (Just the last name "Savage" makes me think of a Savage Beast!) Of course, the media will praise his audacious and despicable behavior and ignore any so called authentic "Christian" message.

    The "wolves" of secularism, fashionism, liberalism, consumerism, and media-ism is a scary reality. It's tough for us as Catholic Christians to stand our ground...and morals. I think it's easier for the "tolerant" people to attack individuals because it doesn't take a lot of thinking or intelligence. Just throw out some curse words, anti-catholic rhetoric, and a little pro-media agenda.

    Then there's the "wolves in sheeps clothing" that lurk in our own parishes. It's a sad to encounter some "devout" Catholics who behave as if they are holier-than-thou but are really quite the opposite. These Catholic "wolves" seem to have an agenda of their own. Do they behave like Christ, with Christ, for Christ? Nope. Do they actually care about the flock of sheep or only themselves? Do they get all bent-out-of-shape when something in the parish doesn't go their way? Do they feel the need to correct, to ridicule, to scorn a fellow Catholic who may be a fallen and lost sheep? Yes, we are all hypocrites to a certain extent. But, some won't admit that their actions are not Christ-like.

    I don't know if Christianity is ever going to be treated fair in our lifetimes. (Probably not!) I just wish followers of Christ weren't treated like an ugly fashion statement!



  2. “Tolerant” people insist that they only attack issues. But they don’t. They attack people. And they attack people because they really don’t want to talk about the issues.
    That’s what happened to Jesus. That’s exactly what is happening to Christians today.

    1)I totally agree with you!... up until you generalize the population. However, I get your point.
    2)It is true that individuals (that are acting in defense or trying clumsily to make a point) attack other people and not the issues….. Non-Christians as well as Christians, Blacks as well as Whites, “tolerant” as well as “non-tolerant” – in other words, you really cannot single out the “tolerant”.
    3)And that IS what happened to Jesus. Am I any better than my Master? Jesus could have wiped these guys off the face of the earth and never allowed anyone to misuse, misconstrue, degrade Christianity….. but He didn’t. He died for these very ones! While WE (humanity) were still sinners….. A physician comes for those who are ill….
    4)I love your meditations! I love the Catholic Church! Everybody loves Father Alfonse! But Father, are we not called to die for these very ones? Yes, teach our children and each other right from wrong, teach them the truth, the catechism, the foundations of why we do what we do, the subtleness of relativism, but teach them how to love our enemies! I feel that the attitude behind this meditation (& others) is less than loving. Forgive me if I am wrong. We are either judging someone or loving them, and they know the difference. But herein lays THE most important part of Loving!
    5)In this very Gospel passage, Jesus says: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” How will this fold hear His Voice if it is not through my Love for them? This is what I want to live my life for – dying for those who do not know Christ. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” These people just don’t get it! They somehow, some way do not understand how very much their creator Loves them. (I think it is called life experiences, but that is another debate!) Most of them will not get it through my preaching! Who better than I, a Catholic who has The Truth, is suited to Love this fold? We have the graces, sacraments, Eucharist – we have it all!! If I have the thought that it is hard enough in this day & age to live a good moral life, not sin so that I can go to heaven, I think that I have totally missed the boat! I just don’t think that is enough for God or for me. It is Only through the cross of sacrifice and suffering out of love for God and others that I will have union with God even while I am here on this earth! (He is never outdone in generosity.) This cross of “tolerance” is only one way that I will be able to even communicate with this fold. One of my best friends is in this fold: I pray that God would give me the grace to have the courage to die for her if needed. Viewed in this way, how very small a sacrifice it is to spend time with her, “tolerate” her, and try to see where she is coming from, & show her the Love of God b/c she is not even close to hearing it in words.
    6)Could we not take the nun-dressing homosexuals or stone throwing homosexuals in California and label them all like that? No, not as a faithful follower of Christ. We are much stronger than that, only with His grace. That’s the paradox! That is the absolute beauty of the cross!!! I want to be with Christ on His Cross. It makes no human sense! The Catholic Church, above all, embraces suffering, not just tolerates it!
    7) You are a holy man, Father Alfonse. Thank you for your faithfulness!

  3. I think the whole idea of "tolerance" is a scam. I don't no a single individual that is truly "tolerant". What does the word actually mean? I would have to say that the idea of "tolerance" was a marvelous invention, developed (recently) in order to avoid talking forthrightly about the issues.

  4. Just b/c you don't know them doesn't mean that they don't exist: “In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.” I know you are going to hate this but this is from the Dalia Lama. Please do not disregard this just b/c it did not come from our Pope. You are a man searching for wisdom: even if this was a "recent invention" - do you not think that the word of God is always the same and ever new for our age? That is the perfect mystery of Christ Himself! We are priviledge to be living in this time when the Word is manifesting Himself right before us.... through our enemy.

    Oh well, it was worth a try.

  5. Really thought provoking - all of it. What I think is lost today is that intolerance IS an important aspect of loving! It is in plain sight everyday in our homes. I am definitely intolerant of my husband having a mistress, my kids doing drugs and they are intolerant of me doing these hurtful things as well. As a society, we don't tolerate people drinking and driving, or killing, or slandering, etc. In the Bible, God was intolerant and Jesus was intolerant. Being intolerant doesn't mean I wouldn't die for a violent neighbor, an atheist friend, a wayward husband. It doesn't mean "without love."

  6. I think every individual defines "tolerance" differently depending on the life circumstance. We may be tolerant of differing viewpoints regarding religion, political, and cultural issues. We may be tolerant of those individuals who are a nuisance, irritating, or a pain in the !@#$. Tolerance may involve enduring the personal crosses and burdens in our lives. If "tolerance" was indeed a "scam" or a "marvelous invention recently developed" then what would be the point of Christ's teachings? Aren't we taught as Christians to transform from being only "tolerant" to wanting to serve and help others? Yes, it is difficult for individuals to be truly tolerant, no matter what religious background. It's our fallen nature to easily dismiss ideas we do not agree with or that do not necesarily fit into our morals. I see "tolerating" negative, immoral, ridiculous, cruel, and hurtful ideas as contrary to Christian principles. It's necessary for all of us to discuss the issues with conviction and purpose. We should "tolerate" the person as well as the person's actions (i.e. issues) with a non-judgmental, non-accusatory approach. Easier said than done.


  7. "Tolerance" is one of those politically correct words that has been highjacked by fringe groups as a form of cover and defense in the hopes of mainstreaming their cause throughout our communities, schools, media, etc. To say one should be "tolerant" of morals, behaviors and beliefs which are in direct conflict with our Catholic teachings and the Ten Commandments is then by definition being sympathetic or indulgent of those whose lifestyles/beliefs we should discern as morally perilous.
    James 5:20 "he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a mulitude of sins."
    Don't we have a moral obligation as Catholics to profess our Faith by standing on the teachings of the Church? How about to save our souls, the souls of our children and others? If we use "tolerance" as an excuse so as not to get involved or cause friction, then what does it take to get us off the sideline bench? How much longer are some Catholics going to "tolerate" the thousands of lives being snuffed out each year through "selection" "reduction" "sedation"? All politically correct terms being used so as to promote "tolerance" of choice. How "tolerant" will one be when our children come face to face with same sex couples making out in the lobby of a movie theatre here in Dallas? How "tolerant" are we when at a religious school our children are listening to blasphemous rap music? How "tolerant" should we be when our children are in a dorm room next to a transgender couple at some fancy Ivy League school?! At a party, how "tolerant" are we suppose to act when Catholics are the butt of jokes because of the HHS lawsuits?
    James 1:21 "Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls." Tolerance can be a good excuse for inaction when we are really really uncomfortable and fear losing something of great attachment (ie job, stature, friends). The media throws "intolerance" into every social issue debate and those who stand on principle, especially Christian values, will most certainly be accused of being "rather judgemental." Is one not free to "discern" that compliance with certain questionable lifestyle "choices" may place one in moral jeopardy? We, as Catholics, are being challenged unabashedly and with fierce determination by our government, the cultural elite, the Eastern establishment, the lamestream media and hedonistic Hollywood. Are we willing to stand with Jesus as the arrows are being flung?
    Matthew 10:34 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword." God is with you, Fr.Alfonse. Thank you for your courage in sharing your truth filled meditations.

  8. Words! I hate using them b/c I cannot seem to articulate what I am trying to say…
    I am not advocating sin or not speaking up for our beliefs! I did not say one should be "tolerant" of morals, behaviors and beliefs”. Let’s not TRY to argue.
    I couldn’t agree with you more! You are 100% correct!
    I have conversations with at least one of my kids almost every night about some type of relativism that is happening in the world or in their public schools. It is constant! I am with you! WWJD in this situation? We have an obligation to catechize our children, teach them right from wrong, but also to teach them to pray for those who do not know Christ, pray for our enemies. Father wrote a brilliant meditation on HOW this is done in a particular situation!! (May 1)
    I am sorry now that I used the word “tolerant”. I hit the wrong button. It carries too much connotation with it. Instead let me just say, I want to make myself all things to all people so that I may win over a few….…1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Paul is not referring to sinning or dodging the hard questions so as to make himself all things to all people!
    And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Col 3:13-15)
    In many situations I find myself in, I ask myself: what is more Love for this person in this circumstance: What do they need in these circumstances? Sometimes it is to speak openly & honestly. But sometimes it is just to listen to them. I am not talking about the Savages of the world. I am talking about persons that I have relationships with that are agnostics or atheist. Let’s put it in context! I think everyone on this thread is saying the same thing – just like many arguments, we are all stressing different points. I apologize for my lack of discretion. I am just not good with words.

    1. No apology necessary Anonymous! My comments were not directed towards you, personally, but rather a commentary on what's happening at large. We're on the same team :)


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