Shepherds

Christ Good Shepherd

Lord Jesus, the eternal Word of God, shepherds us towards the goal of life. He appoints shepherds from among the sheep of His flock. He Himself shepherds His sheep through the ministry of the sheep He has appointed shepherds.

So, as we hear at Holy Mass today, He vents His most-terrifying wrath against shepherds who fail in their appointed task. Not those who fail through normal human foibles, like we all have, but those who betray their mission through hypocrisy. Through deep inner dishonesty.

Lord Jesus vents His wrath against shepherds who claim religious authority, and who manipulate others by using their authority, but who themselves do not, in fact, love. Who do not love their flock with God’s true love.

Trent
Piazza Duomo, Trento

As you know, I’m getting ready to leave on a little pilgrimage/vacation, to follow the path of the Catholic bishops and theologians who converged on the northern-Italian mountain town of Trent, five centuries ago. They met in order to try to understand better what shepherding the flock required of them.

They converged at the tomb of St. Vigilius, an ancient martyr-bishop who had given his life to evangelize the pagans. Trent served as a mid-point between Rome and Protestant lands.

The assembled shepherds proceeded to clarify certain truths of Christianity. God’s revelation comes to us through the Scriptures and the sacred, apostolic Tradition of the Church. The Lord Jesus has given us seven sacraments, by which He communicates His grace to us. His grace can truly make us holy. The Mass makes His sacrifice on the cross present to us now, and receiving Holy Communion means receiving His body, blood, soul, and divinity. We should venerate the saints, pray for the souls in purgatory, and esteem the consecrated religious life.

The fathers of Trent also tried to reform their own lives, to focus more on their true mission, to shepherd people’s souls.

Much more to come on this.

2 thoughts on “Shepherds

  1. The shepherds towards whom Jesus vents his wrath . . . those shepherds who “betray their mission through hypocrisy, who claim religious authority and who manipulate others by using their authority . . . .”
    Could that group of shepherds include bishops of the present day Roman Catholic church?

  2. Ooooohhhh….your wind-up promises a helluva heater! Yesterday was St. Monica’s feast day and today was St. Augustine’s. The Gospel readings for both days were from Matthew 23: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees! What kind of mangled juxtaposition is this? Monica and her son, Doctor Augustine next to the proto-hypocrites of God’s chosen people? Maybe this lectionary kismet is Holy Spirit’s sense of humor about dirtbags who know the Truth but choose to betray the Creator and their flocks for a few seconds of worldly pride and pleasure. Cheap, craven frauds. Only the long-suffering, yet hopeful faithful, like St. Monica can overcome this base, venal cowardice. She was rewarded for her example while Augustine was under her care because he always sought the truth, the meaning of life. He veered into the flesh and into heresy, but Mom’s prayers and her holy witness, by God’s grace led the august Augustine to the Truth. And he didn’t disappoint….or look back. Be hot or cold, but if you’re lukewarm….

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