There will be many, many people who won’t be receptive to our Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Easter precisely because of what Luke’s Jesus is talking about in it: bad shepherds. We all know people, some in our families, who have walked away because of what a priest, or priests, did. Most of the time it is not even because of the really bad stuff; it is because of insensitivity, non-presence at a sick bed or funeral, the perception that they don’t practice what they preach, or a chance encounter that went wrong. I have experienced all these things too, so why stay churched? I think it is only because God has given me ecclesial faith. Ecclesial faith is a special kind of faith founded on Incarnation. Incarnation means that Christ has inserted himself definitively into flawed, limited and fallible people and human history — and human institutions like our church. Ecclesial faith leads me to see that God’s power is great enough to overcome all this imperfection! God’s word will break through and speak to us through the good stuff of church: the words of Scripture preserved by and passed on in the church; the Eucharist; holy faith leaders we have known including priests; and the people of God. Let us pray this Sunday for the people who should be in our pews as we listen to the Gospel reading about bad and good shepherds.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia