This Sunday’s liturgical celebration is called the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Interestingly, the readings refer to Jesus not as king in the profane sense, but as the shepherd who knows, loves, and cares for his sheep. Ezekiel reminds us that God has promised that “I myself will look after and tend my sheep…I will rescue them…pasture them…heal them. I will give them rest.- followed by Paul’s “In Christ, all shall be brought to life,” and in Matthew’s Gospel, “whatever you did for the least – the hungry, thirsty, naked, prisoner, stranger – you did for me. And so, the invitation from Jesus to welcome without prejudice and with mercy. The shepherd “anoints my head with oil; my cup overflows.” The oil of mercy endows the minister of mercy who shepherds the flock.
Where am I called to be; what am I called to do TODAY in the midst of chaos? It seems that wherever we look, no matter how far-reaching our vision, there is a sense of confusion and even fear. As women of faith called to be shepherds, we pray ~
Lord, I believe… help my unbelief!
Lord, I trust. Let your grace overpower my fear, so that my trust will be deepened, alive, and ever reaching out to the flock you entrust to me.
Lord, I love. Embraced by your love, I yearn for you. Let my yearning enkindle new sparks of compassion , the creative energy that reaches towards eternity.
Faith, hope and love school me as a shepherd and deepen my longing.
In his desiderium sinus cordis (‘longing makes the heart deep’), St. Augustine reminds us that the very “desire to desire” is desire. As in our common human experience, the curious sense of longing for something undefined contributes to a dissatisfaction or sense of incompletion. . . Augustine would have us ponder how the innate potential to be with God, because never fully realized, causes us to yearn for substitutes. Because these “other” do not satisfy, we are left with an insatiable longing, a longing for something that cannot be defined. The very longing, the desire is our prayer, and if we desire without ceasing, our prayer is without ceasing.
“The continuance of your longing is the continuance of your prayer.”
When our hearts are weary from the longing and we are burdened by the silence, Jesus calls, “Come to me …and I will refresh you.” Mt. 11,28 Come to me that I may teach you to shepherd my people, whoever they be and wherever they are.