Things Jesus Never Said Week 3
Things Jesus Never Said Week 3
Stay in Your Comfort Zone
Those are things our culture may say, but, not only did Jesus not say them, he showed us how we can know those things are not true and live great and happy lives. Something else Jesus never said is “Hey folks, take it easy and stay inside your comfort zone.” Let’s explore what he does say.
Toward the end of the Gospel today we hear Jesus talking with Peter. Remember Peter had denied even knowing Jesus three times right before Jesus was crucified. Now Jesus goes out of his way to clear the air between Peter and himself. He does not leave this earth without making sure Peter knows that he is forgiven and that he has a place for Peter. Jesus also gives the rest of us insight as to what those who proclaim they love him must do. Like Peter, if we are to say yes Lord, you know I love you, Jesus tells us, as well, to feed his sheep.
Notice he doesn’t tell Peter “I forgive you. Just go ahead now and stay in your comfort zone of life . Go fishing and act like you never experienced me”. He calls him to action by saying feed my sheep. As Christians, Jesus calls all of us into action, action to accompany our faith, giving meaning and purpose to our Christian lives.
Let’s be people who take Jesus’ words seriously. Maybe you are thinking, what is this feed my sheep business? The “lamb and sheep” Jesus refers to are all of God’s people, whether those people are members of the Church or not.
Jesus is our chief shepherd, caring for all of his followers as well as the lost. Jesus invited Peter and all his disciples (that’s us, his disciples) to take part in caring for these same sheep. Feed my sheep means more than give them food. It’s referring to the work of a shepherd. We are called to: nurture others, care for others, feed believers and the lost with spiritual food. We are called to protect those in the Church, and to go out and seek the lost sheep that are out in the world.
Jesus gives Peter this charge to show had absolute trust in Peter’s ability to lead in his Church. Jesus forgives Peter and entrusts him and commissions him to lead and take part of the most important work on earth. You and I are included in that trust and commission. Jesus trusts you, and commissions you, to go forth. He does not say to you, it’s okay, be content with the status quo, and stay in your comfort zone.
Maybe you are thinking that feeding others spiritually and ministering to people is the priest’s job. I remind you the Catholic Church teaches by baptism you share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Baptism gives you a share in the common priesthood of all believers. By baptism you are joined to Christ and share in his threefold mission as priest, prophet, and king. And he co-missions you. That means we are all called to join him in his mission.
The clergy cannot possibly minister to every one. We have designed a way you can minister to one another and help Jesus feed his sheep.
Small groups are our way of ministering to one another. It is our parish’s way of helping you to feed one another and to invite those who may have wandered away to come join you in a safe, small group, environment for friendly conversation and faith sharing.
It would be impossible for me and our staff, however large our staff may grow, to provide all the support, the assistance, the attention, and the encouragement that all of you need from time to time which we very much want to make sure you have. But in a healthy church, the pastor, the associate pastor, the deacons, or the pastor’s staff shouldn’t be supplying you with that care. You should be doing that for one another. Jesus told us to Love God, AND your neighbor. Feed my sheep the Lord tells you. Small groups are our plan, our delivery system, to make that happen, to help you care for one another. Through the years, we have heard many stories from people who have benefited from the support of a small group right here in our parish.
We provide you with resources and materials for your small group. Our primary resource at this time is our Homily Study guide which is designed for small group discussion, and you can always find it on our website. With our homily study guide, we are providing you with a way to share the word of God, discuss the word of God and explore its deeper relevance in your life.
We use the word of God found in the bible to feed our spirit, and we use it to help feed other people. It is very important for us to nourish our spirit. The Bible is one of our tools for that. People who work have tools. Farmers have tools. Doctors have tools. Carpenters have tools. The better you can use your tools, the better you can do your work. Small groups, using our homily study guide, will become more familiar with the bible and its application to your everyday life.
Healthy spiritual growth is a relational process. Small groups provide the opportunity for all of you to respond to the conversation that the priests kick start, in the homily, here on Sunday. Then you respond in a relational way with each other. You keep the Sunday conversation going during the week. That conversation, those relationships, can change people’s minds, they can change people’s hearts, and that can change people’s lives. That can change your life. Old problems can be solved, new directions can be taken, and fresh habits can be formed.
In these ways you help Jesus feed his sheep and you yourself are fed.
When I die, I want to hear God say “Well done, good and faithful servant” don’t you? Jesus never said “Hey! Just take it easy and stay in your comfort zone.” He said feed my sheep. How are you doing with that?