Day 229: Shepherds of Israel

Jeremiah 6:1-30 With attack imminent, Jeremiah urged the tribe of Benjamin to hurry south, and he pleaded with Judah to repent or face immediate destruction. It was a threatening situation, given the sinful state of the population who in general refused any kind of moral reform. 

Ezekiel 34:1-10 The term “shepherd” is often applied by the prophets to kings and priests, symbolic of their role as leaders among the Chosen People throughout their history. Nevertheless, Israel had its share of bad shepherds, some of whom actually participated in and encouraged idolatry, leading the people to infidelity. This is why Christ’s self-reference as the Good Shepherd is such a powerful image: he is the promised Messiah-King in the line of David who perfectly fulfills the leadership role of king and shepherd. (CCC 874, 1548)

Ch 34:11-31 The sheepfold is a common image of the Church, whose members follow the voice of Christ, the Good Shepherd, through his representatives, the bishops of the Church. The rational sheep, the People of God, are guided, protected, and nourished by Christ, who as Good Shepherd lays down his very life for his sheep and is ready to heal them through the Sacrament of Penance and nourish them with his Body and Blood through the Holy Eucharist. (CCC 754)

Ch 34:23 He shall feed...their shepherd: This prophecy points to Christ, who, after his Ascension into Heaven, delegates this role on earth to the head of the church and his bishops. In his command to St. Peter to “feed my sheep” (cf. Jn 21:15-19), Christ appointed St. Peter, and his successors, as supreme shepherd of the Church. (CCC 881, 936)

Ch 35:1-15 Edom, already condemned once, will be subject to severe punishment for its savagery toward the Jews and their flagrant blasphemies. The message here is that God sides with Israel. 

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much. And thank you for, gosh, Lord. These prophets have just called us, called me to repentance and called me to just want to belong to you with everything I am, with everything we are. Help us. Help us to please turn to you completely, to belong to you fully, to be yours now and forever. We make this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”