While today’s Gospel is about the Good Shepherd, let us think briefly about the Bad Shepherd. This is the “hired man” who is “not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own,” and when he sees a wolf coming, he “leaves the sheep and runs away.”
Jesus warns us about the Bad Shepherds who feed us the false illusions and promises that lead us astray and cost us our souls. But where are they, and how do we so readily follow them? Just turn on the television or go online, and they appear at almost every click or change of the channel. They dress destructive behaviors as new and acceptable norms. They peddle the luxurious lifestyle you deserve and praise the deceit it takes to win that status, position, or new toy. They elevate celebrity and put a price on everything false and fleeting. And they do this as hired men for a price leaving us hollow.
And when lives are destroyed, the promoters disappear into excuses or disclaimers, or they move on. They run away. This emptiness is the wolf that comes.
So how do we not lose sight of the Good Shepherd, following him closely and daily? The answer rests in living a Eucharistic life where we never leave Jesus’s side because he never leaves ours. In sharing this walk, we are not distracted, lured, or fooled by the falseness of our times. Centuries ago, Saint Peter Julian Eymard warned us of what was at stake.
“Let us never forget that an age prospers or dwindles in proportion to its devotion to the Holy Eucharist.”
So, will we prosper, or will we dwindle? Will we follow the Good Shepherd or the Bad? Our times and souls are at stake, and Jesus awaits our answer.
Let Us Pray:
Send forth your light and your fidelity; they shall lead me on and bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place. (Psalm 42)