“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” (Psalm 23:1)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This week, let us look at Psalm 23. This psalm is very popular and very familiar. It gives us a sense of protection and watchfulness. The most often used psalm at funerals, it provides people with support, reminding us that everything is in the Lord’s hands.

“restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.” We have a great reservoir of water in the life of the Church. The Mass, sacraments, sacred tradition, and the lives of the saints, just to name a few. These gifts are offered to us to guide us along the shores of faith. They refresh our soul with forgiveness, encouragement, hope and joy. They also challenge us to be open to freely drink of this water. They are offered, not imposed. How many of us don’t take advantage of the opportunity to become spiritually, mentally, and physically refreshed? I personally take advantage of my vacation time to become refreshed, as many of you do. Why do we at times avoid the free gifts of refreshment that God offers through the reservoir of the Church?

“that give me courage.” In the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” the lion desired to have courage to overcome his fears. Little did he realize that courage was within him all along. He simply needed to have confidence in himself. We are faced with many fearful challenges that darken our outlook on life. Often, we give in to continued sin because we are fearful to acknowledge that we have offended God and/or our neighbor. We forget that within us is the guiding rod and staff of a loving and compassionate God that wants to free us from our fears, so as to live in true freedom. We can overcome any fear with the courage of His gift of the Spirit.

“my cup overflows.”
Have you read about the life of any saint recently? I find that they have an extraordinary understanding of faith that overflows into the life of the people they encounter. In invite you to watch “Saint John Bosco: Mission to love” or “Maria Goretti: The story of the patroness of the modern youth” on Formed.org. These are two great examples of everyday people that know the table of the Lord. They consumed from His table and were inspired to help others, even their foes, to have the opportunity to experience the anointing grace that is offered through faith in Jesus Christ. We can learn a lot from the lives of the saints, on how to be cups overflowing with the oil of the Lord. (Formed.org is a free subscription through the parish website.)

“I shall live in the house of the Lord for years to come.” At our conception we began a journey with a goal to be united with God forever. The gift of faith received at baptism strengthens us for this journey. Through the life of the Church, we are encouraged to look forward to this awesome encounter. Many times, we even pray for it. This journey is a challenging one. We must rely on the grace of God and each other. In doing so we help each other reach the house of the Lord. It is through our witness to the shepherd’s goodness and kindness that we encourage each other to get there so we can echo the words of St. Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” (1 Tm 4:7.)

The psalms are a great resource for reflection. Clergy, religious, and many lay people read the Liturgy of the Hours to reflect on the psalms. There are many resources to help the faithful of all ages to pray, reflect, and learn from this great book of the Old Testament. Consider finding one, if you do not have something already.

Over the past few weeks, we have been hearing about the increased number of Covid-19 infections, mainly due to the Delta variant. It is a stark reminder that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. Whether vaccinated or not, let us continue to be attentive to healthy practices and concern for others. Let us continue to pray for the sick and those that care for them. Also, let us pray for safety of travelers, those who gather for events, and our educators and students as they make preparations to return to school.

As we continue to move through this summer, I am planning to restart some of our liturgical and social practices. Help is needed! I would like to restart the Altar Server Ministry. During the pandemic, many of our awesome and dedicated servers graduated and/or moved. I encourage parents to talk to their children, grades 4 and above, about this ministry. Being an altar server is a great way for young people to get involved and deepen their understanding of the Mass. For more information, please contact the parish office and the secretary will put you in touch with the coordinator.

Help is also needed to restart “Coffee and Donuts.” This after-Mass activity is an important way to welcome visitors, encounter parishioners, and to share the life of our faith. Please contact the secretary for more information on how you can help with this ministry.

Saint James Feast Day is Sunday, July 25. We will celebrate this day with great solemnity at the 10:30 Mass at Saint James Church. A hot dog social, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, will follow Mass. All are welcome.
Please continue for pray for Pope Francis, especially during his recovery, and for me as I prepare for what should be my final surgery at the end of this month.

The Shepherd’s peace,
Fr. Workman