The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

4th Week of Easter

Date: 
Mon, 05/08/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

The OT prophet Ezekiel appears on the scene at about 600 BC.
He himself was an Israelite who experienced the Babylonian exile.
 
Here is some of what Ezekiel had to say (Chapter 34):  “thus says the Lord God…
Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves! 
Should not shepherds pasture the flock?
3 You consumed milk, wore wool, and slaughtered fatlings, but the flock you did not pasture.
4 You did not strengthen the weak nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured.
You did not bring back the stray or seek the lost but ruled them harshly and brutally.
5 So they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts.
They were scattered and ….no one looked after them or searched for them.
(because of this….) Look! I am coming against these shepherds.
I will take my sheep out of their hand and put a stop to their shepherding my flock.
I myself will search for my sheep and examine them.
I will deliver them from every place where they were scattered.
I will bring them back to their own country and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel.
There they will lie down on good grazing ground.
The lost I will search out, the strays I will bring back, the injured I will bind up,
and the sick I will heal; but the sleek and the strong I will destroy.  I will shepherd them in judgment.”
 
Ezekiel then turns his attention to the flock,  to the people, and says to them…
“I will judge between one sheep and another.  Was it not enough for you to graze on the best pasture,
that you had to trample the rest of your pastures with your hooves?
Or to drink the clearest water, that you had to pollute the rest with your hooves?
19 Thus my flock had to graze on what your hooves had trampled
and drink what your hooves had polluted.
 
Now I will judge between the fat and the lean. 21 Because you push with flank and shoulder,
and butt all the weak sheep with your horns until you drive them off.
22 I will save my flock so they can no longer be plundered; I will judge between one sheep and another.
23 I will appoint one shepherd over them to pasture them… he shall pasture them and be their shepherd.
I will rid the country of wild beasts so they will dwell securely…
I will break the bars of their yoke and deliver them from the power of those who enslaved them.
Thus they shall know that I, the Lord, their God, am with them.”
 
This passage from Ezekiel, this prophesy, is the source of the title “Jesus, the Good Shepherd”.
This passage from Ezekiel provides insight with regards to Jesus’ purpose, his role, his mission.
It also provides insight for us, for the sheep of his flock.
 
We embrace Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd.    We entrust ourselves to his care.
But as sheep, we must remain attentive to how we get along with other sheep.
Sheep can be mindless and self-serving….the strong exerting power over the weak,
pushing the weak out of the way…grazing on the best grass and drinking from the cleanest streams
only to leave these sources polluted so they can’ t be enjoyed by other sheep.
It’s the attitude “as long as I get what I want, I don’t care about what others need.
Everybody can fend for themselves.”
(This happened not too long ago; Pope Francis was visiting somewhere.  As he was walking by, a healthy person, with the intention of shaking the pope’s hand, pushed passed someone in a wheel chair.
Pope Francis took this person to task….pushed the person aside,
and reached out to the person in the wheel chair.) 
When we act mindlessly or selfishly, we are not acting in love.  As sheep in the flock of Jesus Christ we must intentionally override our instincts of hoarding and self-preservation….
for the good of the flock and in obedience to the commands of the Good Shepherd.
 
If we don’t know who the weak members of our flock are, and if we aren’t doing something to see to it that the weak members are protected, included, and taken care of, then maybe Ezekiel’s words about the fat and the lean are meant for our hearing. [As an aside, in nature, the wolf preys on the weak members of the herd/flock.  If the strong in the flock run away and do not protect the weak, then the weak are plundered and they perish.]  To enjoy the security of the flock without contributing to the security of the flock is self-serving and narcissistic. 
 
Today’s prayer: “Shepherd us rightly, O Lord. Amen!”