Roc Homily (intro) – Solemnity of Mary 2017

tiny-shepherdsFrom my study of the Greek work, poimén, meaning ‘shepherd’, it seems that we have overly romanticized these characters, made them innocuous. Of course, some have described them as poor, outcasts, smelly, and rude. However, the connections Matthew drew upon tells a different story. Two stories, actually, since the shepherds came to visit THE Shepherd.

What might these have to do with our lives?

FIRST story: The leaders, shepherds, abused their flock and led them astray

Jeremiah 12:10f (NRSV) — 10 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard, they have trampled down my portion, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. 11 They have made it a desolation; desolate, it mourns to me. The whole land is made desolate, but no one lays it to heart.

Jeremiah 23:1f (NRSV) — 1 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord.

Jeremiah 50:6 (NRSV) — 6 My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains; from mountain to hill they have gone, they have forgotten their fold.

Ezekiel 34:5–8 (NRSV) — 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and scattered, they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them. 7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As I live, says the Lord God, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep;

Ezekiel 34:9f (NRSV) — 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus says the Lord God, I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them.

 

SECOND story: God will send one shepherd to gather the sheep together into one flock for the Lord

Isaiah 40:10f (NRSV) — 10 See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

Jeremiah 3:14f (NRSV) — 14 Return, O faithless children, says the Lord, for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Jeremiah 23:3f (NRSV) — 3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.

Ezekiel 34:12 (NRSV) — 12 As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.

Ezekiel 37:23f (NRSV) — 23 They shall never again defile themselves with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. I will save them from all the apostasies into which they have fallen, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 24 My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes.

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