Shepherd me O God
About twenty years ago I was the Vocations Coordinator for a ministry, working through Papal Encyclicals and other Church documents training our new volunteers. I didn’t realize it at the time that I was good at that and loved training the new lay ministers. There great sense of joy in that moment of life still rests in my heart. While I don’t regret giving up that position I do miss working with people invested in growing their faith and serving the Church.
As this reflection continues a smile comes to my face as I realize that being the Talent Scout for the magazine is much like being the Vocations Coordinator. It’s a looking for, affirming, encouraging, communicating, guiding in a giving feedback kind of way.
The last few weeks our Shepherds, the responsible ones have shown themselves to need shepherding. They who are responsible for leading, guiding, protecting, going after the lost ones, correcting, setting the examples of laying down their lives for the sheep have shown us the shirking of responsibility on such a grand scale that it’s sickening. What is being revealed, that which is coming to light is evil both in the vileness and in the deliberate betrayal of those whom they are meant to protect.
I am aware that not all Shepherds failed, not all Shepherds betrayed the trust. Not all Shepherds failed to protect the sheep in their protection.
Today’s readings speak a Word that the Shepherds need to hear. Listen up!
Reading 1 EZ 34:1-11
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel,
in these words prophesy to them to the shepherds:
Thus says the Lord GOD: Woe to the shepherds of Israel
who have been pasturing themselves!
Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep?
You have fed off their milk, worn their wool,
and slaughtered the fatlings,
but the sheep you have not pastured.
You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick
nor bind up the injured.
You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost,
but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally.
So they were scattered for the lack of a shepherd,
and became food for all the wild beasts.
My sheep were scattered
and wandered over all the mountains and high hills;
my sheep were scattered over the whole earth,
with no one to look after them or to search for them.
Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
As I live, says the Lord GOD,
because my sheep have been given over to pillage,
and because my sheep have become food for every wild beast,
for lack of a shepherd;
because my shepherds did not look after my sheep,
but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep;
because of this, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I swear I am coming against these shepherds.
I will claim my sheep from them
and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep
so that they may no longer pasture themselves.
I will save my sheep,
that they may no longer be food for their mouths.
For thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.