“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!
in some incomprehensible and ghastly apocalyptic narrative unfolding
before our very eyes, the shepherd
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.
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!
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
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.
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?
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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