Shepherd Strikes the Sheep
“It is written:
I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be
scattered.” (Saint Matthew 26.31)
will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep
of the flock shall be scattered.”1
We have often heard this. It pertains to the imminent Passion
of Jesus Christ on the very night before He was betrayed into the
hands of sinful men. He, the Good Shepherd, would be struck (in
fact, repeatedly ...) and the Apostles, the Disciples, and the Faithful
would be scattered — they would abandon Him, flee for their lives,
and their unity in Him would be broken. Their Shepherd, in Whose
fold they were one flock, had been struck! What the will become
of the sheep? How much anxiety rends them!
But now, in some incomprehensible and ghastly apocalyptic
narrative unfolding before our very eyes, the shepherd himself strikes
the sheep — and they are scattered! Unfaithful to his trust
and careless of the sheep entrusted to him, the shepherd not only
abandons them to the wolves who have prowled the fences for 500
years … but he himself strikes them so that they are forced
to leave the sheepfold; with his staff he strikes the necks and
the backs of the defenseless sheep — not even sparing the Little
Lambs — who cry out in their pain as they flee, seeking a fold where
they will find pasture and protection. They are confused and frightened,
and no other shepherd seems to have the courage to gather
the lost and the scattered — not one other shepherd! Homeless
and shelterless they are prey to wolves — wolves even more remorseless
than the wolves who drove them from the sheepfold.
In the gathering darkness
they huddle and tremble, lacerated by a betrayal too appalling to
grasp. Behold a vignette of the Holy Catholic Church of this day,
under the tyranny of Francis who turns out the faithful to welcome
those whose gods are idols and earth. What a terrible pronouncement
mutters on the horizon!
Let us not fear.
We know Whom we follow even when the hireling has fled. We know
the voice of the Good Shepherd — and will not follow another.
Christ will not abandon us
Let nothing obscure the
glory of God — let nothing come between us and the vision
of unapproachable glory in the face of Christ Jesus. All that is
on the earth and of the earth — will pass away as it came: like
breath on wintery glass, and its pretension will come to nothing.
The seat of power that evil men have taken to themselves, the desecration
of sacred places and sacred things, the betrayal of innocence to
things corrupt and vile, the scattering of the sheep who are
struck by the shepherd and driven from pasture ... all this
is known unto God ... and our littleness and powerlessness before
it. For a time we must bend before this infamous wind, but we will
not bow ... nor break, nor lose faith. Those that now ruthlessly
tower like the cedars of Lebanon, in a time will no longer find
their place among us ... nor we among them.
We will not, then, be
troubled by recreant men. We are called to glory. What is the fecklessness
of man before so great a calling? Let us not be troubled by those
who have lost God and trampled His Vineyard. We know the voice of
the Shepherd and will not follow another. It may seem that we
are bound, hand and foot, like lambs delivered to those who would
make a sacrifice of us to false gods, and we are anxious. Let it
not be so. Christ goes before us, and we go with Christ to the Father.
We need not fear. Has He not told us that none may take us from
His Father’s hand?
Away, then, usurpers
and liars! We have more pressing concerns than your feeble quest
for petty power. We must to God! And we will let no one and nothing
persuade us — or drive us away — from that pledge of glory to which
we are called in Christ!
Saint Matthew 26.31
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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Totally Faithful to the Sacred
Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in Rome
opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum
Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum”
know your works ... that you have but little power, and
yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.”
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