My own vocation story started with a priest and a chalice.  While watching him say mass, I saw in his eyes a glint of love for what he did and who he served.  He had just connected us all with Christ through this sacrament, and it was clear he loved it.

I’ve been fortunate to know many good priests over the years, many good shepherds, and they are all unique reflections of THE Good Shepherd.  Sadly, as our first reading points out, not all shepherds are good shepherds.  Some have gone so far as to “scatter” the Lord’s sheep, but the passage also faults shepherds that failed to care for the sheep.

With all the negative news lately it can be tough to be Catholic.  The crime and the cover up weren’t particularly Christ like.  Yet there is a good reminder here: the problem of faulty shepherds is ancient.  God alone is worthy of our worship and our respect, and other shepherds are quite a mixture.  And there is a promise that after God has taken care of those shepherds, he “himself” will gather the sheep and appoint new shepherds “so that they need no longer fear and tremble, and none shall be missing, says the Lord.”

Passages like this challenge me when I read them, to be better, to rise to the level of those good shepherds I looked up to so much while I was growing up.  Yet I hope I am not alone.  When trouble arises, some are disgusted and they leave.  Some are determined to ignore it, pretend it didn’t happen, pretend that there are no bad shepherds.  Yet in the middle there arises those who are called to bring healing, those who see the problem and try to fix it.  Those who still want to be shepherds, because the work of caring for others still must be done.  This is the new generation of vocations.

Peace ~ Fr. Dan

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