A Note from Fr. Gary -
You may have seen the recent TED talk given by Pope Francis. If you have not seen it, I encourage you to watch this seventeen minute video. This pre-recorded message surprised people gathered for the annual TED (which stands for Technology, Education, and Design) Conference in Vancouver, Canada on April 25th. In his message, the Pope called for a “revolution of tenderness,” and cautioned political leaders that “you will only end up hurting yourselves and those around you if you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness.”
It is that humility and tenderness that we see in the Gospel this weekend. Every Fourth Sunday of Easter, the focus of the scriptures is on Jesus as the Good Shepherd. In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes himself as the Shepherd who leads sheep. These follow him because they hear and recognize his voice. That voice leads them, leads us, to new and more abundant life.
During this Easter Season, we are reminded that the Resurrection of Jesus means that our Good Shepherd is with us always, leading us today, to more and more abundant life. The Risen Jesus, the Good Shepherd, dwells with us in the Church and He is at the heart of all that we do.
The tenderness that the Pope describes in his talk is the tenderness of a shepherd who cares and tends for his sheep. The Pope says, “Tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women…tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility.”
As we think back on the great Three Days of our Easter celebration of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday (beginning with the Easter Vigil), we see this “revolution of tenderness” as the path Jesus chose. From the washing of the feet of his disciples, to going to the cross instead of answering the coercive power of violence with more coercive power, Jesus shows us the path of humility.
Since 2006, TED has been offering free educational videos online covering thousands of topics. The theme of this year’s conference was “The Future You,” and Francis said he liked it “because, while looking at tomorrow, it invites us to open a dialogue today, to look at the future through a ‘you.’”
As you know, we are in the midst of renewing our annual support for the ministries of the Catholic Church in Western Washington. The theme of this year’s campaign is “When We Come Together, We Create a Future Full of Hope.” This is the “you” we are called to be. It is a “you” that creates solidarity when we come together as a “we.” And it is this sense of being connected with others in solidarity, as a “we” that creates hope, especially for those most in need.
In our support for the more than sixty ministries throughout our Archdiocese, we provide the resources for our own “revolution of tenderness” right here in Western Washington. Our gifts help to house the homeless, form young people in the faith, support retired priests and sisters, and form the future shepherds of our Church.
I ask you to prayerfully consider supporting this effort to bring the presence of the Good Shepherd, the Risen Christ, in a very concrete way to Western Washington. You can donate online at www.seattlearchdiocese.org/donate or return the pledge card you were mailed.
May our gifts to the Annual Catholic Appeal this year create a real revolution of tenderness.
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni