Teaching on the Lord Shepherding His People

given 7/24/03 by Child

 

Monsignor asked me to speak on the reading that was from last Sunday’s Mass from the book of the Prophet Jeremiah.

 

Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of My Pasteur says the Lord.  Therefore says the Lord, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd My people; you have scattered My sheep and driven them away, you have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.  I, Myself, will gather the remnant of My flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow.  There they shall increase and multiply.  I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they may no longer fear and tremble, and none shall be missing says the Lord.  Behold, the days are coming says the Lord when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David.  As King He shall reign and govern wisely.  He shall do what is just and right in the land; in His day, Judea shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security.  This is the name they give Him; the Lord, our Just.

 

You know, through the months we have talked often about Scripture, and I have told you that Holy Scripture is living.  God is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow, and so is man.  The problems that were happening in Israel then have happened throughout all the centuries.  From time to time, the people of God wander down the wrong path and then God in His Mercy, brings them back. 

In our present day, things look so clouded and confused, in the Church and out of the Church, but God’s promise – and He is always faithful – is that He is always with His people, He is always with the Church.  We can dwell on all the negative things that are happening, as can every generation, or you can keep focused on the Lord and believe Him.  In every generation, He raises up good shepherds.  In every generation, God leads His people through those He raises up, through the Church, through our priests, through our Holy Father.  Even in this time of confusion, there is great light, but you have to look up and not stay focused on the dark.  The children of God, their peace and security is found in believing that the Lord is always with them, and out of all the confusion and all the evil, He can bring good, and will.  This day is a double celebration.  We hear so much of the negative, but for us who were so close to Fr. Wilson know that he taught us a very valuable lesson.  He taught us to laugh through the times when we were confused, when we couldn’t tell heads or tales what the Lord was doing, and he would just chuckle in his way and say ‘Well, the Lord has His Ways’, and he would get us moving along down the path.  For us, in him and the priests that we have and have come to know, we find good shepherds. Human frailty, yes, but they come from us.  The children of God are not known for their strength; our strength is found in the Lord.  When we stop looking at all the negatives and start looking at all the positives in our life, in our spiritual life, in Who God has given us to lead us, we find that we are filled with hope.  So, what does that mean?  It means staying focused on the Lord and it means sharing the hope.  As long as we will allow the world to keep filling us with the negative and the dark, and we keep repeating the negative and the dark to everyone around us, the light of Christ will not shine brightly, and we don’t lead others to hope and to trust in the Church. 

For us here that are Catholic, our greatest enemy sometimes is ourselves.  We don’t trust in the words of the Lord.  When He said He would shepherd His people, He meant it.  When Jesus said that He would be with us until the end of time, He meant it.  He alone is worthy of trust.  It doesn’t matter what circumstances look like, we must keep our eyes focused on the Shepherd.  In this generation He has given us a good Pope; one who is a very good father, good shepherd.  In our conversations, instead of going around in circles, stop the conversation where it is and bring in the hopeful. 

If you turn to Lamentations, chapter 3, verses 17 to 26, the Lord asked me to read this.

 

My soul is deprived of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is.  I tell myself my future is lost; all that I hoped for from the Lord.  The thought of my homeless is wormwood and gall.  Remembering it over and over leaves my soul downcast within me, but I will call this to mind as my reason to have hope; the favors of the Lord are not exhausted, His mercies are not spent; they are renewed each morning, so great is His faithfulness.  My portion is the Lord says my soul, therefore, will I hope in Him.  Good is the Lord to one who waits for Him, to the soul that seeks Him.  It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord.

 

It’s the waiting that we have problems with, but God has an appointed time for all things.  In our hurrying, in our wanting to have everything just the way we want it, we try to run ahead, we try to push.  We’ve talked about how in the spiritual life you have to take baby steps.  Even Saul, when he was thrown off his horse, and given the name Paul, he did not immediately rush out and preach the Good News.  The Lord trains each of us slowly, slowly, with patience.   I told you our Blessed Mother gave me the definition of patience.  Patience equals humility.  You must be patient and wait upon the Lord to open and close all doors.  Even in every aspect of what is happening in the world, the Lord has a plan and God does control what goes on.  He protects His children and we must depend on that.  Do we sit by and do nothing?  No; we talked about this before.  The first line of defense, the most important line of defense, is prayer.  Second line of defense is doing our daily offerings for our brothers and sisters and the conversion of our own souls which takes us to what Mother gave for today.  We must be active in the world.  We must evangelize first and primarily through example.  If it is only here (indicated in our head) and we don’t do it – we just speak about it – we don’t influence anybody.  If it is just here (again indicated head) and it’s not in the heart, we won’t stay faithful to the Lord and the call that He has given us to do, and we each have a mission.  We each have been given our place in God’s plan and prayerfully we follow it each day.  You don’t have to go out and look for it, just be aware of who God brings into your day and what happens during your day.  If you are faithful to the Lord in each moment of the day, you fulfill the plan He gave you; you can’t fail.  You don’t have to run ahead and look for something. 

Today, our Holy Mother said that instead of a private message to study, She was giving us verse 3 from John 12.

  

Mary* took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic oil and anointed the Feet of Jesus and dried Them with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

 

Mother told me to take this one verse and show you how to apply it to your life.  If you remember, Mary is the repentant lover.  Each day we can anoint the Feet of Jesus through our own sincere repentance and through acts of love to those who God has brought into our lives directly.  We anoint His Feet when we pray for the souls in Purgatory, which I have told you is the greatest act of charity for they can’t help themselves.  We anoint the Feet of Jesus when we are kind to ourselves and this is the lesson that was hardest for me to learn.  Once conversion happens, you are so excited and you feel so bad about all the things you have done in life, and you confess them and you are truly sorry for them, but often we beat ourselves up over them.  True love and trust in God is laying it down and believing in the truth; once confessed, God forgives and forgets.  We learn from our mistakes and we use it for the good of our soul and the good of others, but we don’t use it as a club for a false humility.  When we trust with this kind of open, loving trust in God, in Who He is, and we accept and understand that each child of God is precious, including us, when that enters our heart, it is such a joy to Jesus because then He can work freely in us.  Remember in Paul there is a line that says ‘moving from glory to glory’.  Our spiritual growth and development does not happen all in one day, but we only grow in the Lord according to how much we will trust Him and let Him lead us ever closer to Him and in Him.  Then we come to the point that He can truly work through us.  Mary found the secret.  She found true love; she found Jesus.  She wasn’t ashamed of the love.  She wanted to express that love in a way that was open.  We can openly express our love to Jesus through our actions to each other, in what we do in our relationship with the Lord. 

I don’t know about you, but I went through a time when I wanted with all my heart to love the Lord, but I didn’t want anybody else to know about my conversion.  I’m not talking about standing up and saying ‘Look what I’ve done’.  On Sunday afternoons, Dick, Adam and I would say the rosary together – it was a special time for our family – and if we had others come in, I would be embarrassed about asking them to join us.  Sometimes we are self-conscious about just living our faith, not pretense or pushing anyone, but just living our life the way we do.  We don’t feel embarrassed about saying ‘Excuse me, it is time for my soap opera’, or ‘Excuse me, this is the time I go grocery shopping; come with me or stay at home’.  The things of the world we are not bashful with, but the things of our faith, we are.  For some, it is very embarrassing to even let people know we carry a rosary or that we wear medals.  A crucifix is okay, many people wear one, but anything else may be ‘too much’.  When we can comfortably live our faith openly day by day, that is anointing Jesus’ Feet, too.  There are so many ways to show Jesus our love, to show our Abba our love, and the Holy Spirit. 

That’s what Mother wanted to be shared today; just that you be more aware in your day.  On the days that we can’t pray as much because the Lord has brought people in that needed help, or it is just one of those days where everything is flying in all directions, then we can anoint the Feet of Jesus by staying in peace.  That is a great gift; just remain at peace and accept the day as it has played out.  That is our thought for this week; to begin to do these little things with more and more consciousness and awareness.

 

*St. Mary Magdalene