Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shepherding God's People

Today we hear one of the most familiar titles of Jesus, that of the Good Shepherd. Jesus describes himself as the sheep-gate by which His sheep gladly enter the verdant pasture. He comments here that he is the true shepherd, as opposed to those who purport themselves to be shepherds. Their objective is to rob and destroy the sheep. Jesus by his shepherding skills will lead his sheep along the right way.

We want to be sure to understand that while we hear this gospel after Easter, Jesus is speaking these words towards the religious authorities prior to his suffering and death. While these religious leaders are basically good people they have become misguided, and are in effect misguiding those around them. The laws and the precepts of the covenant are no longer being used to direct people to a relationship with God, but rather have become an end in and of themselves.

Remember the Models of the Church, by Avery Dulles. One of the dangers of the Social Justice model was that it could become centered on itself so that doing justice had little to do with God or the Kingdom of God. Karl Rahner will muse about the workings of the Spirit in the Church so that we do not become sidetracked or misguided. More so in the Church today there are many charismatic leaders that preach the Word of God, but the structure of the ministry is centered on themselves.

Perhaps it is for this reason that Jesus will remind His hearers again and again that he does what the Father in heaven tells him. In a word, Jesus is the revelation of the Father. As the Good Shepherd Jesus shows us that the Father desires mercy and a contrite heart. Following the lead of the Good Shepherd we know that we are loved by the Father, but must live a counter-cultural lifestyle in our selflessness and ability to forgive one another. Even in the most precarious of times we recognize that Jesus' grace and strength give us the courage to live as we ought to.

So we place ourselves in the care of the Good Shepherd. We listen closely for His voice and respond faithfully to his guidance and direction. The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.

No comments:

Post a Comment