THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Second Sunday after Easter
5 May 2019
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We are commanded to love the shepherds, tolerate the hirelings, but flee from the wolves and robbers.
The true shepherd is in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. He is concerned for the souls entrusted to him. He feeds them and is ready to give his life for them. The shepherd enters in through the Door. The Door is Jesus Christ and the shepherd enters in there when he enters in true humility. Jesus came to us in all humility and the shepherds that He appoints must do so also. They must confess their sins and repent of them in all humility as the rest of the Mystical Body must. If they stand before God as the Pharisee claiming to be better than everyone else then like the Pharisee they leave without being justified. The shepherd is chaste, that is he has a pure love of Jesus Christ, both in His Head and in His Mystical Body — the Church. The shepherd is a chaste spouse of Jesus, loving God only not what he can get from God. A wife is said to be chaste when she loves her husband, regardless of whether he is poor or rich. If she loves him for his money she is not pure in her love and will soon depart from him if he loses his wealth. These are the traits which we must look for in the shepherds sent to us by God. If we find them, we should realize that we have found a rare treasure and we have been blessed by God. We must then pray that we are given worthy shepherds to guide our souls into Heaven shepherds who are true and faithful followers of The True Shepherd Jesus Christ. If we are blessed to have shepherds then we must pray, perhaps even more fervently that our shepherd will be preserved and persevere to the end.
Though there are few shepherds, there are many hirelings. There are many who repeat the words and teachings of Jesus Christ but do not follow the words themselves. We must learn to recognize them so that we may do what they say but refrain from doing what they do. The hireling is unchaste, he serves God not out of love for Jesus or the Church, but out of love of himself. He is after something else; perhaps wealth, prestige, or fame. On the Last Day, he will be told that he has already received his reward and has none in Heaven. He served for wages on this earth, he obtained his wages here on earth, and thus deserves nothing in eternity. The hireling is proud and places himself above the flock as the Pharisee despising his fellow men even though speaking the words of God to them. If we only have hirelings to guide us we must be careful to hear the instructions that come from God through them, but we must be ever more vigilant to refrain from imitating them or doing what they do. We should not be shocked when they abandon us, but we should mourn greatly over their loss as well as our own. We should pray that they may open their own hearts and cooperate with the Grace of God and rise from the status of a hireling to that of a true and faithful shepherd.
The wolves need to be carefully discerned because they come into the flock disguised as sheep. They outwardly appear as sheep but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Their words are often filled with duplicity so that the faithful hear them speak a truth but are unaware that there is a lie hidden within. What they say is perhaps better described as a half-truth. They leave out much of what is needed to said for us to save our souls. For example, the wolf may tell us that Jesus commands us to love the adulteress and they will show us the love Jesus had for public sinners, implying that we must accept lovingly not only the sinner but even their sinful life. These sinners that Jesus loves in the Gospels all were repentant sinners who set aside their sins and self-love and embraced a true love for Jesus. "Much has been forgiven her because she has loved much." The duplicitous wolf might suggest that baptism is an initiation into the Church while omitting every reference to the major symbols of baptism with water washing away sin (both actual and original). It is true that baptism is the method of incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ --- the Church but that is not everything, perhaps not even the most important thing concerning baptism. It is said that a half-truth is a complete lie. We must truly become as wise as serpents to discern these wolves from the sheep, lest we are deceived and devoured by them. From the wolves, we must flee. We must cry out and warn those who will be warned that the apparent sheep is truly a wolf. Their honeyed words are a truly bitter poison that will kill our souls. All that glitters is not gold. All who appear as sheep are not sheep. Let us never cease praying to God to protect us from these demonic deceivers. May He always provide us with true shepherds to warn against these as well as give us the wisdom to hear and follow His appointed shepherds.
Lastly, there are robbers. These openly attack Jesus Christ and His Mystical Body the Church. We must cry out to warn others and always run from them, lest through their demonic doctrine of atheism or paganism they rob us of the true faith, grace, and eternal salvation. Again, let us pray that God will strengthen our shepherds to defend us against the robbers and wolves and that we become or remain humble docile sheep following The Good Shepherd through the Door (Jesus Christ) into Heaven.
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