A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Everyday it seems (especially in cyberspace) we hear about the sins and failings of yet another man of the cloth.

It is hard, therefore, to let today's first reading (Ezekiel 34:1-11) pass by without letting this prophecy of warning resonate.

Thus the word of the LORD came to me:

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.

Where much is given, much is required.

This prophecy and this burden therefore lie heaviest upon those to whom the greater grace of ministry is given.

Lord, have mercy.

Yet each one of us, in accordance with our respective vocations, has a role in the shepherding of others, if only by our witnessing to Christ.

So let none of us think he or she is exempt from the warning or from the responsibility given us by the Gospel of Christ.

Insofar as we have pastured ourselves when we should have been pasturing our fellow sheep, we must repent.

Insofar as we have contributed to the scattering of God's flock, we must repent.

Insofar as we have not done we could to protect helpless sheep from this world's wolves, we must repent.

Henceforth, whenever we see God's lambs in need, we must help.

Whenever we see his sheep going astray, we must call to them and go further to seek out those who are lost.

Whenever the wolves of this world draw near, we must stand with the flock and do what we can to defend the defenseless.

And if we are weary, we must reach out to Christ the Good Shepherd.

If we are lost, we must listen for his voice.

And if we are afraid, we find shelter in the shadow of his arm.