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
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
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
He 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
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
Saint Matthew 26.31
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
November 25, 2019
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