Year A: 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15-17
The last sentence of today’s Reading shows why it was chosen to complement the Gospel - God explaining that, as a good shepherd, He will separate the good sheep from the bad sheep just as the Son of Man will separate good from bad at the end of time.
The Reading, though, also offers words of reassurance and comfort to the people of Israel.
They had been badly shepherded by their leaders - they had been defeated and separated and Ezekiel, himself, may have been among the captives taken into Exile. The loss of their land had a profound effect on the people - this was, after all, their Promised Land.
Ezekiel speaks as if he is God looking at all that has happened to His people and seeing the failings of those entrusted as shepherds and seems to decide “enough is enough”. Since the earthly leaders have proven so ineffective - not to say disastrous - God Himself will become the shepherd of His people. He will rescue them - He will draw them together - however far apart they are scattered, He will stand in their midst and see each one.
He will be the true shepherd who ensures that His lost and weak ones are found and tended and so become strong - and that the fat and healthy sheep stay that way. Not one is neglected.
In time, Jesus was revealed as the Good Shepherd - who knows His sheep and whose sheep know Him. They are not afraid of Him but recognise His voice and follow Him. At the end of time, the sheep who know the voice of the Lord will follow Him finally into the eternal pastures of heaven.
What does it mean for me?
Text © 2007 WellspringWeekly Wellsprings |