A reading from the prophecy of Jeremiah
As we know, shepherds were very important people in a culture that depended on sheep for clothing as well as food. A good shepherd was highly valued, and so the Israelites often referred to their kings as shepherds. Jeremiah accuses these shepherd-kings of having driven the people away and “not cared for them.” “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the Lord.”
We often refer to bishops in our Church today as shepherds who are to lead us. Many do it well, but some in our country and around the world have not protected children and teens in their dioceses from abuse. Millions of people all over the world have left the Church in the past 30 years. There are many reasons but high among them is the anger people have toward abusive priests and those who closed their eyes to the crimes. Pope Francis has apologized for this laxity, promised to treat the matter seriously, and put mechanisms in place to do so.
Let us pray for all those who have been abused and for their families and for all those who were guilty that healing and forgiveness can spread throughout our Church.
“The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.” Jesus is the true shepherd who gives us unconditional love, forgiveness, and strength for all our needs. We need only to ask, to be patient, and to accept the gifts he gives us.