Fr. Kevin’s Column 4/25/2021

Dear friends of God,

Happy Easter! The Saturday of Palm Sunday weekend was the 17th anniversary of the death of Bishop Ken Untener. Bishop Ken was our bishop for 24 years. He was the Bishop that welcomed me to the diocese and ordained me for service as a priest of our beloved Church of Saginaw. This weekend we celebrate what has become known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” We hear these words from our reading of John’s Gospel this weekend: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Our Gospel passage begins at John 10:11. The verse directly before that: John 10:10 says “.I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” I am struck by that passage as we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday since the motto of Bishop Ken was “That They May Have Life.”


All bishops have mottos that reflect their ministry. The idea that Jesus came to bring us life more abundantly is a lovely idea of how God works in our lives. God didn’t come to bring death but to bring life and even through the gift of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, even our own lives don’t have the last word. We have a God of life who shares his life fully with us.


Before Bishop Ken became our bishop, he was Father Ken Untener in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He wrote a reflection to be used by Cardinal Dearden, who was the Archbishop of Detroit at the time. It was written for a Mass for deceased priests. It is called Prophets of a future not our own. It is a beautiful reflection to share on this Good Shepherd Sunday.


It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, It is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, Which is another way of saying that The Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that should be said.
No prayer fully expressed our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, Knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produced effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
An opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future that is not our own.


Each of us is called to be a prophet. It is part of our baptismal call. We are workers of God’s kingdom, not our own. That gives me perspective on my own ministry as our call to live as workers for the reign of God as Holy Trinity Parish.


This weekend is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Each of us has a call to serve and each of us has a role to play in the Kingdom of God. May this day remind us to pray for all baptized believers to follow the way of Jesus, our Good Shepherd who came to give us life in abundance.


Much love,
Father Kevin