Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Memories of December 11th to 15th, 2008

February 22: Whom are you shepherding?

From Holy Spirit Interactive - Online : Daily Reflection for Tuesday, February 22, 2011


In today's Gospel reading, we see that Saint Peter was gifted with the insight to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and then he was called and commissioned to shepherd others into the same realization.

We, too, know that Jesus is our Lord and the Good Shepherd described in today's responsorial psalm. Therefore we, too, are called and commissioned to shepherd the people we encounter. We're to lead them to Christ the way a shepherd herds his flock.

In today's first reading, Peter tells us how to do this: Be a good example. Don't lord it over those whom God has placed in your life to minister to, because only Jesus is Lord. When people look at us, they should see Jesus – not bad attitudes, not unlovingness, not apathy, not argumentativeness, not depression or doom and gloom, not despair and hopelessness, not materialism, not selfishness.

In other words, we have to work hard at overcoming our sinful tendencies, because our lives are a witness. We either give witness to life without Jesus or we give witness to Jesus' life.

Sheep follow their shepherd because he (or she) knows where the greener pastures lie and how to get there. What have you learned on your spiritual journey that would benefit others? Any oases that Jesus has led you to become places of your expertise. Now, you can shepherd others to the same places. Who do you know who is in need of rest from their hardships and healing from their wounds? Shepherd them with what you have learned.

Being a shepherd means you also know about the wolves. The sheep might be totally oblivious to the dangers that lurk, but you have been given the responsibility of staying alert for potential attacks of evil. Because Jesus is with you, and because he is the Good Shepherd to whom you're guiding your flock, the wolves can and will be defeated. However, evil spirits and their influences will be conquered only if you stay close to Jesus and swing your Sword of the Spirit when the need arises.

We cannot successfully lead others to Christ if we do not take the necessary measures to protect ourselves and those we're guiding. We must have a good prayer life, knowledge of the scriptures, and ever-growing holiness. We must have trust in God. And none of us can be good shepherds for very long if we hang onto sins we know we're committing, because then we're playing with the wolves. We must cover our vulnerabilities with the armor of God by getting right with him and getting rid of any known areas of disobedience.

Being a shepherd is risky, but only if we make ourselves vulnerable to the wolves.

At the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter by the Sea of Galilee, where this Gospel story took place, there's a sign that says, "The deeds and miracles of Jesus are not actions of the past. Jesus is waiting for those who are still prepared to take risks at His word because they trust His power utterly."

Pray with me: “Lord Jesus, I say yes to Your calling, no matter how risky it seems. I choose to trust in Your guidance, Your directions. What do You want me to do?”

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