Wednesday of the 20th week in the ordinary time

Theme: We are shepherds

In the 1st reading of today from the prophet Ezekiel, we see the prophetic message against the shepherds of Israel, because they were preying on the sheep’s under their care, instead of taking care of them and protecting them. The response to our psalm today says the Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. He is the model of a good shepherd; he is willing to lay down his life for his sheep; their safety and welfare matters a lot to him. In the same way dearly beloved in Christ, we have to emulate Jesus the good shepherd in our actions, by taking good care of the sheep that is in our care. The prophecy against the shepherds came up because they have failed in their responsibilities of taking care of the sheep in their care. Instead they are rather exploiting and preying on the sheep that they are supposed to care for and protect. This is what gave rise to the message of the prophet Ezekiel in today’s 1st reading.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, our reflection today is not limited to only Christian leaders, but to all of us as children of God. The admonition from the prophet Ezekiel has a message for every one of us. As parents you are a shepherd, as an adult you are a shepherd, as a celebrity you are a shepherd, as a leader in an organization you are a shepherd. In view of this my brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all shepherds on different levels. There are people that look up to us in one way or the other, what are we doing to better their lives and also help them to become better people. Is our relationship with them devoid of exploitation? This is very important, if we truly want to emulate Christ who is the good shepherd. We have to strive to deal with them with love and care; we also have to be sincere in our relationship with them.

The situation in our world today, is such that we are in need of true shepherds who will care for the sheep that is under their care. Men and women who are selfless and are willing to make sacrifices for those who are looking up to them, it will help to make our world a better place. The situation that is common today, is the exploitation of the sheep by the shepherds who are supposed to care for them and protect them. Instead, they are like prey in the hand of the shepherds who put their personal gains and interest first, before anything else; at the expense of those they are supposed to protect. The admonition of the prophet Ezekiel is saying a lot to all of us who go by the name Christians, it is not limited to only the ministers of God; we all have a role to play.

I pray that God will grant us the necessary graces we need to be true shepherds that we are called to be, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.

Wednesday of the 20th week in the ordinary time, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp