Good afternoon,

It is a powerful image that is drawn from John’s gospel – Jesus as ‘the Good Shepherd’. I have had the experience of rounding up sheep on my Uncle’s farm – riding on a motor bike for hours crisscrossing the paddocks and steering in the end thousands of them to the yards for drenching etc. This scene is  completely the opposite of shepherds in Israel. 

In Jesus’ time, the Palestinian shepherd was noted for his protection of his sheep. Unlike modern sheepherders, the shepherd always walked ahead of his flock. He led them. The shepherd knew each of the sheep and usually had a name for each. The sheep knew his voice and trusted him and would not follow a stranger.

What a powerful image and it creates and suggests an intimacy between Jesus and us, as followers and, anyone who follows, whatever their creed colour etc. Jesus is open to all, accepts all and welcomes them into his flock. “I have called you by name you are mine” Isaiah 43:2

What are the considered qualities of a shepherd?

Boundaries. every relationship is defined and preserved by boundaries. For example  the shepherd “goes on ahead of [the sheep], and his sheep follow him” (10:3-4)

Then, there is one who is Trustworthy. Sacrificial in protection, Invested in their well- being. Relational, as he knows them and then there is one who is visionary

What are the Skills of a Shepherd

  • Must be tough at heart. …
  • Must be willing to do hard work. …
  • Must be willing to be humbled daily. …
  • Must not be afraid to learn new things. …
  • Must have great endurance. …
  • Must exhibit ability to observe. …
  • Must have the patience of a saint if you have had anything to do with sheep then this is a must!

Two passages that really conveys God’s shepherd heart for his people are Ezekiel 34:15-16 & Jeremiah 23:1-13.

So, in sourcing this information it came to my mind that if we follow Jesus then, in our homes and communities we should bear witness to this notion of being ‘shepherds’ ourselves. The church has used this imagery but mostly it is lost in titles and roles rather, than a living witness. However, by and through ‘baptism’ we all share in this ministry of shepherding others as we follow the great ‘shepherd’. 

The skills come in handy in terms of living as parents, as friends, as work colleagues, as engaging with people of other faiths and denominations, in welcoming people of other cultures. This shepherding brings us to this way of living with all its skills and qualities to contribute to building solid communities that reach out, serve, seek to lift others up, and be bold, in the face of division. May we seek this path and live as shepherds who seek out the ways of the Good Shepherd. “I am with you always. Yes, even to the end of time” Mt 28:20



Have a good week – blessings on each of you and those struggling

Nga Mihi and Aroha




Scripture Reflection: Fourth Sunday of Easter Year B, 21 April 2024.They too will listen to my voice



Almighty ever-living God, lead us to a share in the joys of heaven, so that the humble flock may reach where the brave Shepherd has gone before. 

First reading: 
Acts 4:8-12
Responsorial psalm: Ps 117(118):1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28-29
Second reading: 1 John 3:1-2
Gospel: John 10:11-18
Link to readings – click here

We continue our journey through Eastertide, experiencing the joy of the Risen Lord. This fourth Sunday of Easter traditionally features Jesus as the Good Shepherd, and is also kept annually as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

In the First Reading, Peter explains that the miracle he has been able to perform came not from him, but from the name of Jesus Christ, the keystone rejected by the builders. The Psalm, normally sung by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, is a thanksgiving prayer from someone who has been rescued from an ordeal. It uses the same cornerstone image as the First Reading. Like Peter, the psalmist acknowledges the Lord as his Saviour.

The writer of the Second Reading stresses that we are God’s children. Although we might find the path difficult, and feel unsure of what the future holds, we will be transformed into God’s likeness when we meet him. In the Gospel, Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd, who is prepared to lay down his life for us; he knows us intimately and wants to bring everyone into his fold.

On this Day of Prayer for Vocations, we might pray that everyone should be willing and able to fulfil their own vocation. We continue to pray for war-torn countries, that they will find a Good Shepherd to guide them out of conflict.

Formation-Reflection and moving forward:

Passionist Family Group Houses and Jesus’ Visits

In the early days of Passionist Family Groups and for many years, people shared outdoor picnics. Restaurant meals were rare as we emphasised ‘low cost or no cost’. PFG members gathered in each other’s homes, either as part of an entire ‘Family Group’ function or as subgroups of friends. 

Since COVID and, also, affected by the ageing of group members, home gatherings or invitations are happening far less, which is unfortunate. I was thinking about this recently both in the light of Jesus sharing meals ‘in the open’, and by the sea (like Passionist Family Groups do) and especially in people’s homes. 

In particular  I reflected on Jesus visiting a house in the pagan city of Tyre where, we are told, he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. (Mk 7:24) He must have been well known to the house owners, that he could apparently let himself in, yet he was 80 kilometres from home!

I began thinking about the houses we know that Jesus visited. Of course we don’t know them all, but we know some of them and the circumstances of his visits:

– When Jesus’ family and his disciples were invited to a wedding party in Cana, Jesus restored the happiness of the occasion after they had run out of wine.

– Upon leaving the synagogue one sabbath, Jesus visited Peter’s house in Capernaum, when he heard that Peter’s mother-in-law was unwell. She recovered and began to serve the guests.

– Jesus accepted an invitation to visit another house in Capernaum and, while he was there, some men lowered their friend through the roof and asked Jesus to cure him which, of course, Jesus did.

– Jesus accepted an invitation from Matthew to visit his house, This aroused the anger of some Pharisees because Matthew was a tax-collector. Jesus addressed these religious leaders by saying he had not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners! Matthew became a disciple.

– Jesus visited the house of Simon, where a woman arrived and washed Jesus’ feet and dried them with her hair. Only a prostitute would let down her hair in the culture of the time. Jesus famously said: Those who are forgiven much, love much.

– Jairus, the synagogue official, invited Jesus to go to his house to cure his unwell daughter. In fact, the young girl had died, but while in the house, Jesus raised her and asked the people to give her some food.

– It seems Jesus visited the house of Martha and Mary frequently. It is likely that their brother Lazarus lived with them. The Gospels record three times that Jesus ‘loved the family’. On the best-known occasion recorded in the Gospel, Jesus praised Mary for listening like a disciple, unlike her sister Martha who was distracted and worried by entertaining.

– Zacchaeus was another tax-collector who invited Jesus to visit his house. This was a gesture of solidarity with a public outsider. Many in the crowd criticised Jesus for his poor judgment but that visit turned Zacchaeus’ life around.

– The visit to the house of Caiaphas was quite different to other house visits. This was an involuntary visit, forced on Jesus. In this house, Jesus was judged and condemned. Houses are sometimes the source of tension and even violence; maybe even a potential visitor is shut out, but never, we hope, is Jesus rejected (as stranger, family or friend).

– Jesus gathered his disciples for a farewell meal at the Cenacle in Jerusalem. We don’t know whose house this was, but since Jesus’ instructions were, “Tell him the master needs it, scholars suggest it belonged to a Jerusalem based disciple. During this meal, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet as a slave would have done and gave those present his bread as a communion of remembrance.

– Two downcast disciples who left Jerusalem after Jesus’ death, encountered the risen Jesus on their journey and when they came to a house in Emmaus, presumably belonging to one of them, they pressed Jesus to stay and share a meal, and during that meal Jesus took the bread, blessed and broke it, and then their eyes were opened to his presence.

– After Jesus’ death some of the disciples gathered in a house in Jerusalem with the doors shut! It was here that Jesus appeared and assured the disciples that his Spirit was within and among them.

So, these visits to houses were always strong acts of fellowship and often they involved healing. Outsiders were visited, as were friends.

Maybe some reflection on who is, or is not invited, to your house (as an individual or as a PFG member) can be an occasion for rethinking. Maybe Jesus is knocking on the door or waiting to be invited in.

– Brian Traynor CP






Reminder: 5 Aims and Goals

  • share & celebrate life & faith 
  • support one another (especially in need)                            
  • reaching out to & include others
  • build community/extended family
  • show and give example to children     




Pease remember in your thoughts and prayer: 


  • Please keep Brian McFlynn in our prayers he underwent an operation for the removal of his left eye due to cancer returning. Please remember also, his wife Eleanor and their family.
  • Please keep Brian Traynor in your prayers – he was discharged from hospital on Wednesday after falling victim to a nasty infection which the hospital finally got under control. He has been told to rest which is fortunate as he goes on holiday next Friday 
  • Please keep  Paul and Linda Darbyshire in your thoughts and prayer amid new challenges they face. They are in need of prayerful support.
  • Please keep Robyn Burns (Hill) Lynn and Robs eldest who is recovering from an accident involving a horse. She has a long recovery time.
  • Please keep in your prayer Tim Bartell’s son, Sam who is currently in hospital. Prayerful support for Sue and Tom and mum Sue.
  • Please keep Jocelyn Bryant who is undergoing Chemotherapy along with her husband Kevin and family in your thoughts and prayer 
  • Please keep Christine Geoghegan and family in your thoughts and prayer.
  • Please keep in your prayer Leanne Hintz (Claire & Ray Hague’s  daughter. She is very unwell.
  • Please keep Wayne and Mary Dorn in your prayers
  • Please keep Richard Gibbs in your prayer he continues to slowly improve. Remember his wife Sue who has just been a pillar over the past 3 years.
  • Please keep Robert van de Pas in your prayers – he continues to struggle with pain etc from Chronic Pancreatitis. Also Adriana his mother who is supporting him.
  • Please keep Preston Epplett in your prayer and his family. Preston is recovering.
  • Please remember Preston and Jenny Epplett’s daughter she has just completed her course of chemotherapy
  • Please keep Debbi Davidson’s husband Bryan in your prayer after Debbi died on 1st November. Also, please keep the children and grandchildren and friends in your thoughts and prayer. Grief is a tough journey.
  • Please keep Charlie and Maggi in your thoughts and prayer as they support their daughter and her partner
  • Please keep Anja van de Wettering in your prayers as she has shared she is expecting her second child.
  • Please keep David, Victoria and baby in your prayers. There has been some positive progress and it now looks as if this baby will make it to full term. 
  • Please keep a friend in mind who is in very early stages of pregnancy but has had a few miscarriages so, things are touch and go.
  • Keep in mind all those who are struggling with various aspects of mental health.
  • Please keep in mind a son of a friend of mine who has just been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 
  • Please remember Martin van der Wetering in your prayers as his health still is causing him grief and discomfort.
  • Please remember Phil Drew a former Passionist along with his wife Anne and family
  • Please keep in your prayers those who continue to  deal with the after effects of droughts on the horn of Africa. Also weather effects on other countries across the planet 
  • Please keep Bob Buckley in your prayers- 
  • Keep in prayer the people of Ukraine
  • Keep people in Gaza and Israel in your prayer – these acts from both sides have had a horrible effect on the innocent as always. 
  • Please pray for Dot and Neill Wilson (Invercargill) – their son-in-law Mark married to Dot’s daughter Anita has been diagnosed with aggressive brain tumour, Please keep in mind their daughter Bailey and son Taylor.
  • Remember Pat and Rod Carson 
  • Aidan son of Josie and Phil McIntyre –his parents are his caregivers.
  • Your own intentions


  • Why couldn’t the bike stand up on its own? It was too tired.
  • What do you call a sheep that knows karate? A lamb chop.
  • Why did the snowman buy a bag of carrots? He wanted to pick his nose.
  • What did the Dalmatian say after dinner? That hit the spot.
  • How do you know when a bike is thinking? You can see its wheels turning.
  • What does a librarian use to go fishing? A bookworm.
  • What did one leaf say to the other? I’m falling for you.
  • Where’s the one place you should never take your dog? A flea market.
  • How does Darth Vader like his bagels? On the dark side.
  • What do you call spaghetti in disguise? An impasta.
  • Why did the tailor get fired? He wasn’t a good fit.
  • Where do elephants store luggage? In a trunk.