The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What does the image of a shepherd tell us about God’s care for us? Shepherding was one of the oldest of callings in Israel, even before farming, since the Chosen People had traveled from place to place, living in tents, and driving their flocks from one pasture to another. Looking after sheep was no easy calling. It required great skill and courage. Herds were often quite large, thousands or even ten thousands of sheep. The flocks spent a good part of the year in the open country. Watching over them required a great deal of attention and care.
Stray sheep must be brought back lest they die
Sheep who strayed from the flock had to be sought out and brought back by the shepherd. Since hyenas, jackals, wolves, and even bear were common and fed on sheep, the shepherds often had to do battle with these wild and dangerous beasts. A shepherd literally had to put his life on the line in defending his sheep. Shepherds took turns watching the sheep at night to ward off any attackers. The sheep and their shepherds continually lived together. Their life was so intimately bound together that individual sheep, even when mixed with other flocks, could recognize the voice of their own shepherd and would come immediately when called by name.
God himself leads us like a good shepherd
The Old Testament often spoke of God as shepherd of his people, Israel. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1) We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God’s people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11).
Jesus told his disciples that he was the Good Shepherd who was willing to lay down his life for his sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4, John 10). When he saw the multitude of people in need of protection and care, he was moved to respond with compassionate concern. His love was a personal love for each and every person who came to him in need.
Jesus is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls
Peter the apostle called Jesus the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). Do you know the peace and security of a life freely submitted to Jesus, the Good Shepherd? In the person of the Lord Jesus we see the unceasing vigilance and patience of God’s love. In our battle against sin and evil, Jesus is ever ready to give us help, strength, and refuge. Do you trust in his grace and help at all times?
“Lord Jesus, you guard and protect us from all evil. Help me to stand firm in your word and to trust in your help in all circumstances. May I always find rest and refuge in the shelter of your presence.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE
“The apostles returned to Jesus.” Mark 6:30
When Jesus first summoned and named the apostles (Mk 3:13), all hell broke loose. Jesus’ relatives declared He was out of His mind (Mk 3:21), and the religious leaders claimed He was possessed by the devil (Mk 3:22).
When “Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two, giving them authority over unclean spirits” (Mk 6:7), St. Mark believed that all hell broke loose again, for, at this point in his Gospel, Mark inserted the account of Herod’s beheading of John the Baptizer (Mk 6:14ff).
When Jesus, through Pope John XXIII, summoned the successors of the apostles, that is, the bishops of the world, at the Second Vatican Council, all hell seems to have broken loose.
Jesus, however, has never let that bother Him. When all hell breaks loose, Jesus summons and gathers His apostles once again (see Mk 6:30ff). He shepherds, teaches, and feeds His Church (Mk 6:34ff). He does a miracle of multiplication (see Mk 6:41ff) and “makes all things work together for the good of those who love” Him (Rm 8:28).
Jesus works through His Church, which holds the keys to God’s kingdom (Mt 16:19). She can attack the gates of hell, which cannot prevail against her (Mt 16:18). Our bishops, as successors of the apostles, and we, who are under their authority, are a threat to the devil. The apostolic Church has authority and victory. Love the Church (Eph 5:25), her Head Jesus Christ, and her bishops.
Prayer: Father, may I, as a member of the Church, be such a threat to the devil that all hell breaks loose and all hell is defeated. Promise: “Through [Jesus] let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which acknowledge His name.” Heb 13:15 Praise: Ron burned his pornographic magazines and gave his life to Jesus. (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Thankful to be Catholic.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements