Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative

catechetical resourses for the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative RCIA in

the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative adult

education in the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative

Exploring the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative Early

Church Fathers
Crossroads Initiatitve, a ministry of Dr. Marcellino

   D'Ambrosio        
 
 
 

Abundant Life From the Good Shepherd

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio - Catholic Online ResourcesAbundant Life

The Good Shepherd prepares a Table for Us

 

 Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

 

Desperate PrayersThe atheist philosopher of the 19th century, Friedrich Nietzsche, once said: “if Christians want me to believe in their redeemer, they need to look more redeemed.” 

 

He was drawing the wrong conclusion from a perceptive observation.  To Nietzsche most Christians looked just as burdened, clueless and lost as everybody else.  When he looked into their eyes, he did not see hope, excitement, joy, and a sense of purpose.  They seemed to be still wandering around the Sinai desert, emaciated and anemic; their faces full more of impossibilities than possibilities.

 

When the early Church of Rome celebrated the Easter vigil and the newly baptized came forward to receive their first holy communion, there was another cup on the altar besides the one containing the Lord’s precious blood.  It was filled with milk and honey.  For having passed through the waters of baptism, they had crossed the Jordan and entered into the Promised Land.  Never mind that they could not worship openly for fear of being dragged off to be thrown to the lions.  After years in the desert, they were bound and determined to enjoy the fruits of the Land every chance they could.  The nourishment did them good.  Evidently they looked redeemed, because, despite the danger of persecution, so many of their neighbors came to believe in their redeemer that finally even the Emperor confessed faith in Christ.

 

Blood of Christ Poured OutJesus did not pour out the last drop of his blood so that we could drag ourselves through life with the hopes that, after a lengthy stay in purgatory, we could squeeze through the pearly gates by the skin of our teeth.  Rather he says: “I came that they might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).  He said this while speaking of us as if we were sheep and he our shepherd.

 

In my last visit to the Holy Land, I learned something about sheep and why the patriarchs of Israel herded them through the wilderness.  Unlike cows and horses, sheep can survive on just about anything, even scraggly clumps of weeds, scorched brown by the Middle Eastern sun.

 

But Jesus is a good shepherd.  He is not content to see us barely survive.  He wants us to thrive.  He takes pleasure in plumb, robust sheep, not scrawny, anemic ones.  So the pastures to which he leads us are verdant, lush, and green (Ps. 23), not scorched and brown.  He spreads out a table, a true feast before us, not lunch in a brown bag.  He does not ration our nourishment.  Instead, our cup overflows.

 

Imagine his surprise when most of his sheep walk right by the oasis with its succulent grass and instead insist on munching the dried weeds at the edge of the desert.

 

But that’s what most Catholics appear to do.  Have you ever noticed that more people show up to acknowledge their sins on Ash Wednesday than come to celebrate the gift of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday?  Has it ever appeared odd to you that of the many who faithfully give up chocolate and other things during Lent, very few enjoy daily Mass, adoration or extra time reading Scripture during Eastertide?

 

Abundant Life, Christ the Good ShepherdYou can lead sheep to pasture but you can’t make them drink.  The verdant pasture of the Catholic heritage is full of delectable treats that will make our spirits strong and our hearts sing.  The whole new world of the Bible, the healing balm of the sacrament of penance, the writings of the Fathers, Doctors, and spiritual masters, the teaching of the Councils and the Popes, and most especially the Feast of Faith which is the Eucharist, these provide an abundance of savory nourishment that most of us have scarcely sampled.

 

The greatest insult to the host of an Italian home is to visit and not eat.  It cost the Lord his very life to prepare this table for us.  Out of courtesy to Him, for the sake of your health, and for the sake of the Nietzsche’s of the world that need to see before they believe, eat!

 

This article originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor as a reflection on Acts 2: 14, 36-41; Ps 23; I Pet 2: 20-25; Jn 10:1-10, the Mass readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, year A.  It is reproduced here by permission of the author.  

 

Download and Print The Prodigal Son

Click here to download and print Abundant Life!

 

For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative Homepage.

 Win a Free CD - Catholic Online Resources

To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!

 Feast of Faith -

The Transforming Power of the Eucharist

 

"The Feast of Faith," is an enlightening, four-part adult faith formation series (on 2 CDs, or 2 DVDs) guaranteed to unlock the life-changing power of the Eucharist in your life. Be sure to order the Feast of Faith Workbook, you may view it online, to get the most out of this amazing Eucharist Series!

 

Feast of Faith DVD - $49.95

Feast of Faith – CD - $19.95

Feast of Faith Workbook - $6.95 


Exploring the Catholic Church: An Introduction to Catholic Teaching & Practice
 Exploring the Catholic Church Introduction to Catholic Doctrine and Practice, a Roman Catholic Book Exploring the Catholic Church: An Introduction to Catholic Teaching and Practice by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio is an accessible, affordable Roman Catholic Book--perfect gift for anyone!! -- the inactive Catholic, the Sunday Catholic wanting to know more, Protestants who want to know why Catholics do what they do. In fact there are TWO chapters devoted to the meaning of the Eucharist and how to get more out of it!  An enjoyable approach to faith formation and religious eduation.

 


 

 

I Believe - The Heart of the Catholic Faith - DVD Set
In this dynamic, four-part faith formation series, on the Creed, Dr. D'Ambrosio explains how this expression of the basic beliefs of Roman Catholicism is relevant to our personal relationship with God.


Bibles and Baseball
Baseballs and the BibleFather's Day is coming up quickly! This Gift bundle is perfect for any man who loves Baseball and the Bible! The Catholic Answers Bible and BOTH Champions of Faith Baseball editions - Limited time offer!


DISOrienation
DISOrintationTwelve of the top Catholic writers in America - professors, priests, journalists, philosophers, and theologians - have come together to dissect the trendy ideas that can lead young Catholics away from the Church. Disorientation is intellectual ammunition for every college student and parent, as it breaks down the history, analyzes the appeal, and debunks the empty promises of such wildly popular errors - this book is a MUST for anyone headed to college.


 

Divine Mercy Family BibleCatholic Family Divine Mercy Edition Bible
This Beautiful hardcover Family Bible is the first ever publication of The Holy Bible in a Divine Mercy Edition, the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. This beautiful Bible is a keepsake for your family and makes an amazing gift! There are amazing sections of the Rosary and Station of the Cross, 48 page full color section on the Life of Christ, “Pilgrimage in pictures” to shrines and the Holy Land – study aids and so much more to bless your family.

 

 


Home | Site Map | Links | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Free Newsletter | Win a CD | Calender | Donate Now!
A ministry of Crossroads Productions, Inc. + PO Box 271227 + Flower Mound, TX 75027 + 1.800.803.0118 + a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.