Tag Archives: Fr Doug Shepherd

The Cathedral Connection 20 October 2019

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PRAY ALWAYS

The First Reading tells of the battle the Israelites fought after their deliverance from Egypt. Victory was theirs but not from their own efforts alone but from the power of God mediated through the intercession of Moses.

In the Gospel Jesus tells the parable of the helpless widow and the corrupt judge. Through her persistence the judge finally agrees to listen to her complaint, but just to get rid of her.
The profound message in the story is intended for his disciples who are faced with suffering and persecution. If an amoral Judge can be moved by the persistent pleading of a widow, how much more will God see justice done for his faithful ones who cry out to him continually in prayer.

The question is for them in that moment and for us today will they/we, have the faith, trust and fortitude of persevering in prayer, or throw the towel in and abandon the faith, just because our prayers are never answered immediately or sometimes in the manner in which we want.

With every blessing
Fr Doug

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The Cathedral Connection 22 September 2019

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HABITS

We are constantly told that it is very difficult to change our habits and the natural way that we react and behave.

Dostoevsky wrote:
‘The second part of half of a person’s life is usually made up of the habits acquired during the first part.’

Now that is quite a challenging thought. A profound story to illustrate this.
‘Once a holy man was instructing his disciples as they walked through a forest. He pointed to a small oak sapling and asked one of his disciples to pull it out. The disciple did so with one hand. Then the Holy Man pointed to another oak sapling, a little bigger than the first and asked the disciple to pull that one out too. The disciple had to use both hands this time. The Holy Man pointed to yet another sapling much bigger and asked the disciple to pull it out. This time he could only pull it out with the help of all the other disciples. Finally, the Holy Man pointed to an even bigger oak tree and asked his disciples to pull it out. Of course, they were unable to do so.

The Holy Man concluded, ‘That’s how it is with passions and habits. In the beginning, before they have sunk deep roots, it is easy to eradicate them. But if we allow them to sink deep roots, it becomes virtually impossible to rid ourselves of them.’

While the story shows the danger of forming bad habits it also shows the importance of forming good habits. Just as dishonesty can become a way of life so can honesty. Honesty can become habitual, spontaneous, second nature in our lives.

Flor McCarthy writes,
The real reward for a good deed is that it makes the next good deed easier. Every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character.’

With every blessing
Fr Doug

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The Cathedral Connection 25 August 2019

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In the Sunday’s Gospel Luke tells us about the entrance into the kingdom of God and how there is no such thing as automatic entry. While Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem, someone asks him about the number who will be saved. Rather than speculate about the number who will deserve salvation, Jesus give practical advise on how you might enter: ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.’

The door is a narrow opening so believers must strive to enter it. It is a warning against presumption. Salvation depends on the favour and grace of God and the honest struggle to follow God completely in his ways.

On a personal note on St Bartholomew’s feast Day I will have been six years a priest.

Fr Stephen Rossetti in ‘The Joy of Priesthood’ wrote;
“My brothers, you are a sign of hope. In a world of darkness, your presence, which is the presence of Jesus, is a light for the world. Despite your frail humanity, or because of it, the light of Christ shines more brightly.”

That powerful statement has resided in my heart from the day I read it in the Seminary. I have also realised I would not be the priest I am if it wasn’t for the people I serve, who have allowed me into their lives so generously and genuinely as their priest.

My Prayerful thanks

Fr Doug

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The Cathedral Connection 28 July 2019

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PRAYER

The importance of prayer is a favourite theme in Luke. It underpins the message in both the First Reading and in the Gospel of today.

In the First Reading we have Abraham interceding with God on Sodom’s behalf. A city full of evil and corruption. Abraham is troubled by the idea of the innocent being punished along with the guilty so passionately prays to God, even bargains with him.

The First Reading highlights the importance of intercessory prayer and reveals the true mercy of God.

This prepares us for the Gospel in which Jesus tells his disciples how to pray to God, the Father and urges them to be persistent and confident in their prayers.

‘Ask, and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.’

 With every blessing
Fr Doug

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The Cathedral Connection 30 June 2019

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In this new section of Luke’s Gospel Jesus journeys to Jerusalem. Luke portrays Jesus as one who knows his ultimate destiny and is willing to do everything in achieving his Father’s will.

Luke is not exactly interested in telling us the route Jesus followed as in telling us about the incidents he faced on the way.

In the first passage we see the hostility Jesus encountered from the inhabitants of a Samaritan village because they were heading for Jerusalem.

This is followed in the second passage by three different stories of would-be followers who had excuses in not committing themselves fully in being a true disciple of his. It is not an easy road to take in completely surrendering, as Jesus did, to the will of God.

Jesus did not hide this fact from his followers but told them as he tells us that total commitment is needed in witnessing to the Gospels.

‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’

With every blessing and grace.

Fr Doug

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