23 July 2010 Friday of the 16th Week in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 3, 14-17; Psalm: Jeremiah 31:10-13; Matthew 13, 18-23
The Lord says to Jeremiah that the people have been wicked and rebellious. He desires their return to Him. He hopes to gather His children again in His Temple. In order to fulfill this desire, He promises the prophet to send shepherds (note: the plural) “after His own heart.” They will help gather the people in worship and guide them in the ways of the Lord.
I believe we are all “wicked, rebellious and sinners.” We have been unfaithful to the Lord in many ways. Our wickedness and rebelliousness can take different forms. Our sinfulness can be grave or subtle. Jesus says that the children of darkness have been very creative.
The Lord chooses shepherds from the community of sinners. He selects all of us to become shepherds fashioned from His own heart.
Many of our lives are not totally sinful; we are also redeemed by our goodness. Many of us do not hurt people maliciously; we have been trying to please others and avoid causing harm. And thus, we are, as Fr. Horacio de la Costa SJ calls us, “sinners yet called to be a companion of Jesus.”
However, before we become leaders, the minister of the Word has to be formed first. Before we become His shepherds, we are first of all disciples of Jesus. Before we can become shepherds fashioned after the Lord’s heart, we have to listen to His Word first, listen to our hearts, and see how we respond to Him. We have to know Him, so that we can become one with the Lord. And how? We are asked to pray, reflect and live His Word.
What then is our mission? To fulfill the desire of the Lord to gather His people. We are to sow the seeds of His Word, and prepare the spiritual soil to receive the seed of the Gospel. So that when the ground is ready, they will respond accordingly and appropriately to the Lord.
As we are continually configured to the Lord, we gather the people by God’s word.