Lord, as we meet in prayer and in the Eucharist,
help us to see that our bitterness is forgotten,
our discord is resolved and
our sins are forgiven.
And I pray with Mary and the whole Church for the Pope’s intentions this month:
That we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.
That pastors of the Church, with profound love for their flocks, may accompany them and enliven their hope.
The pastor is a messenger of good news for others. He is meant to invite all of us, including those on the margins, into a relationship with Jesus Christ, the source of true joy. This means serving in a joyful manner that reflects the life of Jesus. ‘Shepherds should have the smell of the sheep upon them’, as Pope Francis puts it.
The pastor’s calling is to witness to the love of God who encounters us on the journey of life. He has a duty to keep the door of the Church wide-open in welcome, drawing everyone into friendship with Jesus, reminding all of us of God’s unchanging love. The focus is on God’s mercy rather than on a prescription of rules and regulations to be upheld. The office calls for imagination and creativity. As Good Samaritans moving out into the streets, pastors have to be people of prayer. By worthily celebrating the mystery of faith in Word and Sacrament, they open the mystery of Christ in our midst, but above all to the poor, the sick, and those who are most despised and overlooked. Instruments in the Lord’s hands, they deepen our awareness of His saving love while always nourishing the weak. Pope Francis encourages all of us to ‘be joyful heralds of good news and not sour pusses’.
- Fr Cyril Mangan, extracted from Living Prayer