July 19, 2009

Bad Shepherds, Good Shepherds


We can see that in Old Testament times, too, there were misleading religious leaders. Even among those following the true God, there can be misguided or ill-intentioned individuals. This is a sad reality that speaks not of any weakness on God's part but on own. In the Old Testament reading today (Jer 23:1-6), God promises to punish the bad shepherds and appoint good ones. God promises to protect His people, His Church, overall and keep them gathered to Himself. What a powerful promise that is, that we may find poor individual leaders and pastors - weak humans, like all of us - but trust in God's care and the Church He established for His children.

It is worth noting, too, that while the second paragraph prefigures Christ - the righteous shoot of David, the king to reign and govern wisely - the first speaks of appointing shephers in the plural. God is giving us not just Chirst - as if that wasn't gift enough! - but promising us human shepherds that we can trust as well God protects the Church He made, against which "the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail". (Matt 16:18)

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