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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What Does It mean to be A Shepherd, A Christian Shepherd?

During the time before Babylon came to conquer the Southern Kingdom of Judah God tells us, through the prophet Jeremiah, some of the reasons for the forthcoming seventy-year exile. This is an exile which will also include the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

"‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!’ says the Lord.
Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: ‘You have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord’" (Jer. 23:1-2).
These leaders of God’s people have destroyed and scattered the sheep.
How? "You have not attended to them."
The sheep of Jeremiah’s day were much like the sheep of Jesus’ day: "…like sheep without a shepherd" (Mt. 9:36).
A shepherd who does not attend to the sheep is no shepherd at all. The sheep will go about their own way, even down dangerous paths, without the voice and guidance of a shepherd. They will indeed be scattered going about every which way.

During the time of Jeremiah the people are committing all kinds of sinful acts. The people are following their own plans, "and everyone will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart" (Jer. 18:12).
They are oppressing the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, shedding innocent blood, and going after other gods (cf. Jer. 7:5-7).
God goes on to say, "Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, saying, ‘We are delivered!’ – only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house…become a den of robbers in your eyes?" (Jer. 7:8-11)

Our Bishops most importantly, but also our Priests and Deacons must lead the flock. They must have a voice as one crying out in the desert with a message of truth.....

This message must be strong and always identifying the contrast of the Christian life versus the worldly life.

I am afraid to say that for so many of the Catholic faith, they have for years received a message that has been weak, tolerant of anti-catholic issues, and void of basic Catholic beliefs.

And because so, we have catholics that do not understand their own faith, yet we expect them to live a catholic life and to be a voice in this world; how can they?

If we don't begin to give clear, strong messages of what it means to be a Catholic, and how so many are living lives that are in direct conflict with the teachings of Christ, we are not only neglecting the flock, but we are failing in our responsibility to assist others to gain eternal life.

We now live in a nation where 40% of all children are born to single mothers, premarital sex has become acceptable, abortions occur in almost 1/2 of all women.

Our world is a mess and our preachers need to point this out every week and then show how to live a life of virtue, hope, Christian character, and to fight back.

We need to take this world back for the evil that continues to flourish.

Our Religious need to be that courageous example, not cowering to political correctness, but rather exhibiting and preaching that message of truth, loving but forceful when opposing evil, and never allowing compromise to overshadow our core beliefs.

There should never be a compromise when dealing with who we are and what we stand for.

If some must walk away when they hear the truth, let it be, Jesus never compromised, when He stated that one must eat His body to have eternal life, many rejected this directive and walked away, Jesus didn't call them back with a compromise, He let them go.

We need communities of strong faithful people, we need to educate and form others as well in the evangelical spirit, but if they choose to walk away, they walk away under their free will.

Being a catholic is not something one can do half-heartily, although so many have attempted to do so for years, being a catholic is a complete way of life and that is what needs to be taught and pointed out consistently.

If we don't, we will have a whole culture of catholics that don't even know who or what they are...... Just Like today!

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