Search This Blog

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shepherding God's People

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

1 Pt 5:1-4
23:1-3a, 4, 5, 6
Mt 16:13-19

Because today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, we get a special opportunity to talk about being a shepherd. It may seem that being a shepherd is not essential to the meaning of Lent (and perhaps it isn't), but it is never a bad time to learn how to live how something that is essential to our call to discipleship.

It is in the first reading that we get an initial glimpse of what it means to be a shepherd, or in this case a "presbyter" as Peter is calling it. Though we are not all called to hold the office of presbyter, all of us, in some way, is called to be a shepherd, as we are all to do our to guide others to Christ. This after all, is not only our universal vocation to holiness, but also our specific vocation to bring others to Christ.

Peter says in this reading that one who leads should do so willingly, eagerly, and by example. Basically, if God is calling you to be a shepherd in some way... embrace it! This also has some resemblance to being a "servant leader" (leading by example), of which Christ was the primary example.

The Psalm is not only a Psalm of comfort, but one that shows us who the "chief shepherd" is. It is because Christ is the perfect shepherd that we do not fear evil, that our souls are refreshed, and why only goodness and kindness will follow us in the absolute sense. A good shepherd should provide their flock some of the same benefits. They should protect us from evil, help us receive spiritual nourishment, and lead us to do what is good and kind in all cases. Jesus is the true example of this.

Finally, in the Gospel we are told where such authority to become a shepherd is received--from Christ of course. It is by our realization that Jesus is God, and the confession of such, that we are given the authority to be disciples for Christ. Those who do not do such, do not have that authority--for you cannot give what you have not received.

Let us come to accept the call to shepherd God's people and live out our vocation to discipleship.

No comments: