Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak

In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:

Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279
April 24, 2021
© paula
John 10:11-18
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
I have long felt sad about our treatment of animals. I was shocked when as a boy, I discovered my beloved hamburger was an animal product. For years, I could only eat meat if I didn’t think about it. Today, as a vegetarian, I feel some sense of relief, if not outright liberation. As a society, we need to reexamine our food production and consumption. More and more, we realize the dynamic interconnection between farming techniques, agricultural commerce, and the well-being of the Earth.
I remember, for some odd reason, a visit to a farm. I stayed a few days making friends with the hired hands and the animals. For the first time in my life, I realized animals have personalities, feelings, and individualities. 
Their trust in the world around them was amazing. The renegade rooster, the contemplative cow, the majestic horse all touched my soul and lifted my spirits. As the Scripture lovingly prays, all the creatures look to you, O God, for their food. They live by your breath” (Psalm 104: 27-29). I was among my friends.
A pig looked inside the farmhouse with curiosity as I was lounging in an overstuffed chair. Our eyes connected, and I greeted him with joy. The farmer, overhearing my conversation, informed me not to get too friendly for my visitor was dinner. I excused myself from the table that night. I felt sick. 
I have met many people over the years who have fallen in love with their animal companions. The faithful dog, the curious cat, the singing canary, and the mischievous parakeet, to mention a few. I remember the cat who journeyed with a lovely lady as she died of cancer. I honor the dog who lovingly and carefully guided my unsighted friend on daily adventures. I think of how many times I have seen a playful puppy bring joy and laughter to a child. I recall the man who buried his animal companion in the backyard. With tears at his passing, my friend said, “He was a loving member of our family!”
Even the Bible describes God in terms of an eagle taking flight, a dove gently descending, a lion mighty and glorious, and a self-giving lamb. The spirits of the animals touch our minds and hearts as we seek their strength and wisdom in the course of everyday life. I have even seen people consoled as doves take flight after a loved one is committed to the ground.
The remarkable tenth chapter of the Gospel of John informs the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Jesus speaks of himself as a “good” shepherd. He brings no harm to the sheep. The metaphor is stunning since shepherds raise sheep for wool and meat. The sheep are not subjects of love but objects for consumption. Jesus turns the metaphor on its head, declaring, “I give my life for my sheep!” (John 10: 11). This is one Shepherd who never forgot what it is to be a sheep.
The animals I know love this Gospel when they hear it. Often when I see a bird in flight, a turkey pecking away, a fox peering out over the field, I think of Jesus giving his life so we may live. I honor my companions of air, sea, and land in his name. They bless us with his presence.
We are the “flock” of Jesus. He gives his life for us. How precious we are in his sight. The time is here again for us to embrace one another with the tenderness of love. May we be as faithful to one another as our animal companions are to us. May we be good shepherds to everyone we meet.
Blessings to you, Holy Flock, for all the times you shared love, respect, and tenderness to the beloved of God, both great and small.