THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Second Sunday after Easter
15 April 2018
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Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd by nature. He is God and by His very Being, He is Good and our Shepherd. All the clergy of this earth only become good shepherds through grace. They are not such by their nature. The nature of all men, including that of priests, is fallen nature due to sin (both Original and Actual). Time has shown that many priests were not shepherds but rather hirelings. Some have also been wolves in sheep's clothing. The true nature of clergymen is generally only discovered when the flock is under attack. In times of relative peace, the shepherd and hireling are virtually indistinguishable to human eyes.
It is through grace that human shepherds become good shepherds. In uniting themselves with Jesus Christ, and becoming One with Him, they are transformed from mere hirelings to true shepherds. For this reason, there are not many shepherds, but rather One Good Shepherd. The pastors appointed by God and the Church only become good shepherds when they are united with The Good Shepherd (Jesus Christ). Then it is no longer the human person who is shepherding, but rather Jesus Christ (living within them) that is doing everything. Hence, all the good that may come forth from pastors, is the work of God and not of man. All the praise and all the glory belong to Him.
Sadly, there are many that do not cooperate with the graces of their vocation. These fail to incorporate themselves completely with Jesus Christ and are mere hirelings. They do the work, but without supernatural motives or desires. There is good in much that they do, but in the face of trials, they flee in fear. This is the state of every soul that fails in true Charity. If we do not love God, we fail to defend His flock, we fail to defend His honor, we fail to lay down our lives for Him.
It is only in truly loving Jesus Christ that we find the strength and courage to stand with Him in times of trials and even persecutions. It is love that enabled the martyrs to die for God. It is this true love of God that seems to be tragically wanting in so many hirelings. They mount the pulpit, not for the advancement of the honor and glory of God, but to win the hearts and wallets of the flock for themselves. These hirelings are out to fleece the flock for their own worldly advancement. They use the words of Jesus, but for their own goals, rather than His. In this way, they deceive and abuse the Children of God.
However, we cannot lay all the blame upon the hirelings and the wolves in sheep's clothing. Jesus has also told us that He knows His flock, and His flock knows Him. The sheep know the voice of their master hence we must be able to distinguish the voice of the Good Shepherd from the voice of the hirelings and wolves. We must learn to discern one from the other. If we no longer can hear Him, it is because we have wandered too far away from Him. We may have lost sight of Him, but He still sees us. What is incumbent upon us is to cry out in our distress. We need to ceaselessly bleat (pray) as the lost lamb until the Good Shepherd comes to our rescue.
He sees that we have wandered far from Him. We have chosen to follow the voices of strangers rather than His. He respects our free will and will not hinder us from going astray by choosing other paths than the one He has laid out for us. Yet, He eagerly waits for us to realize our mistake and call out for Him. If we will only lift up our hearts to Him in prayer, He will come to our rescue. He will come to us and pick us up and carry us back to the flock. Then, we must be very careful to never go astray again.
We should truly study and memorize His voice; we must burn the sound of Him into our very hearts and souls. If we can succeed in this, we will not be lead astray by wolves in sheep's clothing. We will be able to pick up on the faintest whisper that we may hear in the distance from Him. Then, we will know which way to turn, which way to run. When we are unable to hear Him or discern His voice from that of the wolves we are left to scatter. Each one running after a different voice in a different direction is what makes them scatter. The hireling also cannot recognize the Good Shepherd and he scatters also.
The countless groups and sects all proclaiming to be the flock of Jesus Christ with their various hirelings preaching various doctrines have splintered and scattered the many souls that Jesus laid down His life to protect. There are not many flocks or many churches in the Kingdom of God. There is only one flock and One Shepherd and only One Church.
We encourage one and all to send up their bleating prayers to the Good Shepherd so that all may come to know and recognize Him in His One True Church, for there are still many outside the fold that must hear His voice and be brought in to Him. We should pray for our pastors that they become or remain one with Him and be good shepherds through grace, and one with Jesus Christ.
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