Wednesday of Week 20 in Ordinary Time
…who feed themselves!
Sheep and shepherding. A common analogy, parable, and reality in scripture, and in Israel (and many other countries) even today. So many ‘shepherds’ in our life who haven’t done their job, but instead lived to be served; and we’ve suffered.
Comparing, criticizing, and complaining. A common analogy, parable, and reality in scripture, and in all the world around us today. So many people in our life who seem to do nothing but compare, criticize, and complain, doing little to build a better world.
Our readings from today are soaked in our current thinking – at least in America. We blame everyone in leadership for not doing the right thing FOR ME, or for the group I am associated with; and we constantly complain that we are not getting what we ‘deserve’ while other (less deserving people) are getting ‘more’ than we are. A blame game that social media has transformed from a few minor sparks to an out and out fire of significant destruction.
On one hand we have – or have always had – leaders (elected officials, teachers, doctors, lawyers, coaches, athletes, entertainers and priests and clergy…..even parents) who revel in being served, in being important, in being the MOST important. On the other hand we have large, loud individuals and groups who are non-stop criticizing and complaining (many more violently than ever before), because someone is getting something more/good that they don’t think they deserve, or that they themselves aren’t getting something that they think they deserve as well.
And yet…how many have we had in our responsibility to shepherd that we have demanded serve us? How many times have we made excuses for not doing what is right and expected for our sheep? How many times have we neglected those around us for a multitude of reasons, including, ‘just not feeling it, I’m tired, too busy, they can take care of themselves, they don’t deserve…’
It doesn’t seem to me that we’ve learned much in the last 2000 years since Jesus came and revealed to us the fullness of truth.
So what are we to do?
Well, let’s start with the words of St. Ignatius, “Pray for the world and take care of your acre.”
That is really all we can do, isn’t it? As we stay humbly connected to Christ, the Holy Spirit WILL work through us. We are to be the example, so let us lead ourselves well so that we are available for God when and where He sees fit to use us in (and outside of) our acre. Let us tend to our acre and all that is in our acre without looking at the other acres around us, without comparing our crop to their crop, without comparing anything at all. Let us take care of our acre by going to God in grateful prayer every morning and every evening – as well as throughout the day. Let us rejoice in God’s will for our acre – whether it be a bumper crop or ‘just enough’, whether it be to increase, or diminish the size of our acre. That is how we can best take care of our acre and put ourselves in a position to hear His call so that we can be of use to Him. That is what the Good Shepherd does. That is what we are enabled to do.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)
Prayer: We pray that we never stray from your sight, and we trust that when we do, you will quickly guide us back to the fold. We ask that you protect us and our acre from the evils of the devil and from the neglect of the world around us.
Thanksgiving: Father God, we thank you for the acre you have entrusted to us and the people you have placed in our acre. We thank you for the good shepherds you have given us throughout our lives who have guided and protected us. We thank you for being the All-Good, Holy and Perfect Shepherd.