Following the Good Shepherd - Family Reflection Video
How do we do our best to listen to Jesus and to follow Him? Today’s saint, Damien de Veuster, known by many as St. Damien of Molokai, might help us with this question. Saint Damien of Molokai was born in Belgium in 1840, and was sent to the Hawaiian Islands after joining the Congregation of the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Today, most people would consider this an excellent assignment … and it was as he served as a parish priest for nine years. But the course of his life and countless others would forever change when he volunteered to become a chaplain, serving people on the remote island of Molokai, which was home to a leper colony.
Father Damien faithfully served his new flock, raising their sense of dignity, purpose, and even joy through teaching the faith and providing recreation for them. He eventually contracted leprosy and died with his flock.
One of his famous quotes is: (I want to) “… make myself a leper with the lepers, to gain all to Christ.”
In the past several days at Mass, we’ve heard Jesus use the metaphor of the shepherd and the sheep to help us understand His love for us and His guidance for us as we make our way through each day of our lives.
But, still, at times, we can be like the Jewish people in today’s gospel, who ask Jesus for more proof that He is truly, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We can struggle, yet Jesus’ answer causes us to reflect on two helpful points.
1. The works that Jesus does in His Father’s Name testify to who He is. Think for a moment of Jesus’ healing of people from physical, psychological, and spiritual ills, perhaps yourself, family, or friends. But ultimately, His greatest work was His suffering, dying, and rising to save us.
2. Jesus tells us that “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.” John 10:27. Each of us can hear the voice of Jesus, in His Word, in our times of prayer, and homilies, reading spiritual writings, and in the conversations with good and holy family and friends.
St. Damien learned about the works of Jesus, heard His voice, and then followed Him to religious life, priesthood, and service as a missionary. And the hand of the Lord also led him to care for the most isolated and suffering of the region so that he “… might gain all to Christ.”
St. Damien and other holy men and women, including those in our families, inspire us to live a life of Godly service, sometimes traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to serve those most in need, and yet others traveling no further than the next room of their homes, or next door.
May we hear the Good Shepherd’s voice and
let Him lead us to who we are called to serve,
to help them know the love of God and
how He wants to bring us with Him
to the Father in Heaven.
St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us!
- Learn more about St. Damien of Molokai
Father David's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
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About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!