This week I turn my “pulpit” over to one whose wisdom is greater than my simple scratchings and henpeckings at my keyboard. While I already had a “Sermon” in my head, the simplicity and directness of the following struck me to the very heart of my inner core.
I hear about people who have “left The Church” or “Fell away from”, and it occurred to me that the cleric behind the podium SHOULD have followed up on WHY his “flock” diminished by ONE.
I know if something precious went missing I would search for it, inquire about it, and possibly even WORRY about it’s loss.
And yet, hundreds DAILY leave churches without so much as a backward glance and the priests do nothing to find out WHY??
If even so much as ONE of my parish decides to leave, I MOURN their loss…much the same as the parable of The Prodigal Son (REF: Luke 15:11-31)…how so do they NOT?
It is in this light that it occurred to me that the term “shepherd” means more than “Stands up on Sunday and speaks for an hour then leaves them to their own devices”…and this is the topic for this week’s Sermon.
I stumbled across it while researching today’s “Saint of the Day” and saw the TRUTH in it’s words…and so, I share it with you.
This Sermon is brought to you by:
Asterius of Amasea (?-c.410), Bishop
Homily no.13, on conversion ; PG 40, 356-357,361 (trans. breviary 1st Thursday of Lent rev.)
~Imitating God’s patience~
If you want to live up to the standard set by God, you must imitate his example in whose likeness you are made. You are Christians and that very name means that “friend of man” (cf. Wisdom 1:6).
You must imitate the charity and love of Christ. Meditate carefully on the richness of Christ’s charity…
Look at how he received those who listened to his voice. He gave them a ready pardon for their sins and in a moment he quickly freed them from those who troubled them…
Let us be shepherds after the style of our Lord…
Sketched out in the gospel in parables and hidden sayings, I find a man who is shepherd of a hundred sheep (Luke 15:4).
When one of them left the flock and wandered off the shepherd did not stay with those who stayed grazing in the flock without wandering.
On the contrary, he went off to search for the single stray.
He followed it through countless valleys and ravines, climbed many difficult mountains, searched with great trouble in lonely places, until he found it. When he had found the lost sheep, far from beating it or driving it to return to the flock, he laid it on his shoulders and gently carried it back and returned it to its fellows.
The Good Shepherd rejoiced more over this one that was found, than over all the others.
Let us think over the hidden meaning of this parable… The whole story has a sacred meaning and it warns us not to think of any man as lost or beyond hope. We must not easily despair of those who are in danger or be slow to help them.
If they stray from the path of virtue, we should lead them back and rejoice in their return and make it easy for them to rejoin the community of those who lead good and holy lives.