When the 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)
“I will strike
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.
He will not
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!
1 Saint Matthew
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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