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Posts Tagged ‘Mark 6’


Ezekiel 34: Jesus, the Authentic Shepherd – A Reprise

Monday, January 15, 2018

George Vicat Cole: Watching the Flock

Adapted from a reflection written on January 20, 2008, and explored last September. Today we remind ourselves that Jesus is the one, true, timeless and reliable shepherd.

In the New Testament, the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and John describe the Good Shepherd.  We have heard these lines so often that we might be able to recite them from memory.

In Matthew 9 and Mark 6 we read that Jesus sees the people as a shepherd-less flock.

In Matthew 25 and Mark 14, Jesus tells us that the Son of Man will divide his flock as a shepherd does, who knows each sheep well.

In Matthew 26 when Jesus predicts Peter’s denial of him, he uses the metaphor of a shepherd being struck down and the flock scattering.

John in Chapter 10 develops the beautiful imagery of the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep . . . I know my sheep and my sheep know me The sheep gate, Jesus, admits only the rightful shepherd.  The hired hand runs away in fear to abandon the sheep to the attack of the wolf.  The Good Shepherd also has sheep in other pens which he must bring into the one fold.

God as shepherd brings us back in peace in the letter to the Hebrews (13:20)

Peter tells us that the Good Shepherd leads the flock to safety, and brings us joy. (2:25 and 5:4).

Finally, in Revelation 7:17 we see Jesus the Lamb as the ultimate shepherd.

All of this is not a coincidence.  The continual reminder of God’s presence in our lives as shepherd through Christ and the holy Spirit are meant to be signs to us.  In today’s reading from Ezekiel we are reminded that false shepherds abound.  They are subtle yet abusive.  Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves!  They prey on the weak and lord it over the flock.  They eat the very sheep they are called to protect.  There is also the one, true and constant shepherd who will gather the scattered, who will rid the countryside of ravenous beasts, who will send rain in due season so that the trees might bear fruit.

God asks us these questions through Ezekiel in verse 18: Was it not enough for you to graze on the best pasture, that you had to trample the rest of the pastures with your feet?  Was it not enough for you to drink the clearest water, that you had to fowl the remainder with your feet? 

We know the answers to these questions once we explore scripture. God will judge the lean and the fat.  God, the Ultimate Shepherd, knows each sheep by name.  God, the Good Shepherd, carries the ewes and the lambs in God’s arms.  God, the Protecting Shepherd, defends the sheep from the wolf.  God, the Healing Shepherd, will seek out the lost and the weary.  God, the Abiding Shepherd, will gather us home with all of the faithful flock.

When we compare versions of these verses, we find the shepherd we seek. 

Tomorrow, a prayer to the shepherd.

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Ezekiel 34: Parable of the Shepherds – Part IV

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Himalayan Shepherd

The New Testament Gospels of Mark, Matthew and John describe the Good Shepherd, and because we have heard these lines often, we may be able to recite them from memory. If this is the case, we will want to spend time with varying translations to allow these images to sink into our sinew and bone. For we can only act as Jesus asks when we fully own his words. We can only enact our own Good Shepherd Parable when his words move through us into our ears and lips, hands and feet.

In Matthew 9 and Mark 6 we read that Jesus sees the people as a shepherd-less flock.  In Matthew 25 and Mark 14, Jesus tells us that the Son of Man will divide his flock as a shepherd does, knowing each sheep well.  In Matthew 26 when Jesus predicts Peter’s denial, he uses the metaphor of a shepherd being struck down and the flock scattering.  St. John in Chapter 10 develops the beautiful imagery of the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. The hired hand runs away in fear and abandons the sheep to the attack of the wolf while Jesus, the sheep gate, admits only those he knows . . . I know my sheep and my sheep know me

It is difficult to distinguish between false shepherds and the Good Shepherd and so it is important to look for the one who mercifully brings other sheep into the one fold, the one who forgives and heals, the one who calls, leads and protects, the one who watches through the night, the one inviting us to begin our own parable of shepherding.

Tomorrow, shepherds in The Letters and Revelation.

Adapted from a Favorite written on January 20, 2008.

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2 Corinthians 8:7-15: A Matter of Equality

Tissot: The Gathering of the Manna

Tissot: The Gathering of the Manna

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Frequent arguments arise about how to create social and political policy for the common good and this is natural. There will always be those among us who take advantage of generosity hearts. This incontrovertible fact causes worry and suspicion. It creates a feeling of ill will toward those who need the help of the fortunate. There will always be suspicion and bias in human relationships but this does not mean that we cannot practice Christ’s example in our small, everyday dealings with one another.

Though Christ was rich, for your sake he became poor . . .

Once we discover how we our sharing of wealth can be managed prudently, we might begin to offer more of our abundance to others.

By Christ’s poverty you might become rich . . .

As Jesus so often tells us, our treasure must lie in our actions rather than the goods, property and fame we have stored up in this world.

Not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality.

Paul reminds his readers that God dealt with the Israelites in the desert with generosity and grace by providing water from rock, and quail and manna from the sky. The real miracle in this story is not so much that sustenance appeared out of nowhere, but that there was enough for all.

Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less. (Exodus 16:18)

This generosity and plenty will again be seen when Jesus feeds thousands with a few fish and loaves offered by a child. (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6)

There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people? So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten (John 6:9 and 13)

And so Paul sends us this message: Brothers and sisters: As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also.

All that have and all that we are is gift from God. Jesus himself, although he is divine, tells us that he does the will of the creator. How then can we refuse to imitate Christ in his generosity for us? How then can we reject the idea of sharing the abundance we have at this present time?

As we meditate on this reading today, let us consider where our wealth lies. It may be physical in that we own much and we may have worked quite diligently for this abundance. Yet is it not God who gives us this plenty and how can we not share it?

Our wealth may be spiritual or psychological. Again, was it not God who blessed us with this equanimity? How can we not share the benefit of stable mind and heart when God has given this sense of balance to us in the first place?

As we spend time with these verses and compare varying versions of these stories by clicking on the scripture links, let us also pledge to share our wealth in some way with those who have less. And let us commit to sharing a portion of this plenty with those who have far less than the gifts we have received from God.

If you find yourself without a cause to which you might devote yourself, click on the words Social Justice in the category cloud in the right hand column of this blog. Or enter the words Social Justice into the blog search bar and explore. If you already have a favorite cause, enter that information into the comment bar below and share it with others. In this way we come together in our reply to Christ’s invitation to share God’s gifts as a matter of equality.

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