Then he said to his host, 'When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relations or rich neighbours, in case they invite you back and so repay you. No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; then you will be blessed, for they have no means to repay you and so you will be repaid when the upright rise again.'
“I am the Good Shepherd”: the good Shepherd is the one who lays down his life for his sheep.
How many Good Shepherds do you know – people who have given their lives for others. We are always reminded of the people that have died in war during November. We remember those who went to war to defend freedom – freedom for their neighbours and families. Many Irish Catholics went to fight in the First and Second World Wars. They fought on the British side. They set aside their differences for a greater cause.
It’s interesting how when something happens that is bigger than us that we can form alliances with people that we may have been opposed to in order to overcome it. I think that a bigger picture can take away our small thinking. We can rally ourselves to take on big things when we know they are important, when we know what is important to us is being attacked.
We all know that we have a drug epidemic on going in our City and Nationwide. What is important to us is being attacked. Lives are being destroyed, especially young lives. Freedom is being taken away. We are all called to action, to volunteer in this battle for freedom. We are called by Jesus to offer our lives for others. We are called to be the Good Shepherds.
For now, I think how we can do this is through prayer and making sacrifices. I think for those who are fit that fasting is one of the ways we can intensify our prayer. There are many practical things happening with regards to the drug epidemic and there is much more than can and will be done. The area in which I think the least is being done is praying for those who have become addicted and for those who are working in this area. There is no question that this epidemic is of the devil’s making and it will only be defeated through prayer and fasting. Perhaps you will consider taking on to offer a decade of the Rosary every day for the country’s freedom from drugs. Maybe you would consider giving up something – something you like to eat or drink – maybe cream fingers or something else that you like as an offering that will remind you every time you refrain that you are part of an army of volunteers who are fighting for the lives of our young people.
In the first reading today we are told to use the gifts we have been given. I think that as well as praying we all have particular gifts that can contribute to this battle. In your prayer ask God to guide you to discover if there is anything else that you should be doing to help. If you have become trapped with drug addiction yourself, I think you could not imagine the Joy it would bring to God if you can become part of his volunteers who are praying and fasting for this.
Do not give up if trials come; and keep on praying. If you have hope this will make you cheerful. If we are praying, we have hope.
Lord help me to know how you want me to use the gifts you have given me. Amen