Scripture: lectionary 421. Aug.22. Ezekiel 34:1-11. Psalm 23:1-3,3-4.5.6. Matthew 20:1-16:
Ezekiel’s parables in action are striking and often bizarre. Today, however, he is clear in his message about the bad shepherding being done by the leaders of his time, including the chief shepherd, the king. These verses may not seem to be of interest to us, but by reversing what is said about bad shepherding to what good shepherding is all about, we have a message that can help us in listening and applying the reading to our own shepherding in the areas where we reach out to people and comfort or help them in some way. Not only are priests, sisters, and ministers involved in shepherding, it is the call of all of us who are concerned about our neighbors. Counseling, praying, consoling, being generous are part of the role of being a shepherd for others—even for our own family members. Spiritual direction, teaching, and working in campus ministry are essentially pastoral ministries.
Campus ministry is central to the function of a Catholic and Marianist university; this also involves high schools that have a campus ministry office.
In many areas we can see efforts of being good shepherds for others, especially for students. It consists of a certain dynamism that provides opportunities for retreats, talks, gatherings, and periods of prayer. All of us can learn much from the work of campus ministers if we are near a center where they are shepherding.
Psalm 23 is one of the finest psalms that is all about the presence of God as a Good Shepherd. Jesus, God’s son, also identifies with this role in all of his deeds and words. The Psalm is for the ministry of shepherding even though most hear it at a wake or a funeral service. It was never meant for that in the first place.
Jesus shows us through a parable that the bottom line of being a shepherd is really generosity in the giving of ourselves for others no matter at what hour.
We need to abstract from looking at this parable as a lesson in money management to the heart of what it is saying about the generosity of God and those who live in the presence of God. May we all try to be a good shepherd for someone this day. Amen
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.