Our readings this week talk about shepherds, bad shepherds and good shepherds. In the first reading the Lord is talking through the prophet Jeremiah to the evil leaders of Israel who have scattered, driven away, and not cared for God’s sheep. The leaders were supposed to keep the people safe, especially the most vulnerable. God is very relational and possessive, talking about MY pasture, MY people and MY flock. God promises to raise up one who will take care of His people. And, of course, that one is Jesus. In the Gospel Jesus wants to get away to rest, but he sees the vast expanse of people and His heart was moved with pity, for they were like sheep without a shepherd. It was pity that moved the Good Shepherd, that enabled Him to put the needs of the people above His own.
The point for us is this: through baptism we have accepted the responsibility of being shepherds for others, of allowing our hearts to be moved with pity because our neighbors are like sheep without a shepherd. We are to be their shepherds, helping them see the joy of living Gospel values, both by what we model and by what we say. In other words: it is a commitment to be a disciple who brings the Good News to others. It is more comfortable, sometimes, to think that the responsibility to be a good shepherd is just for religious and priests. But it is the task of every Christian.
I invite us to reflect this week on our call to be the Good Shepherd to others. Do we accept the call and do our best to fulfill it? How can we do better? And let us support each other in prayer.
-- Paul James Portlans, SDS
Reminder: beginning with September 16, the Sunday after the Grass Mass, the second Mass on Sundays will be celebrated at 10:30, instead of 10:15.