United Benefice of Morton and Stonebroom with Shirland


Beware The Wolf at the Door...

Last Sunday was designated ‘Good Shepherd’ Sunday, when our Gospel reading recounted Jesus’ depiction of himself as the ultimate good shepherd. It is an image with which we are very familiar. During the narrative, Jesus contrasts the absolute commitment of the shepherd to that of the hired man. When the wolf comes, the hired hand runs away because the sheep are not his and therefore that commitment is not so deep. The question as always is, what is the relevance of this parable for us, today? Obviously, the care and love of Jesus for us, his sheep, is constant and an eternal truth. But where are today’s wolves, and in what form do they come?

Pope Francis recently wrote that we are living in an age of indifference. This itself comes in many forms. It is seen in the obvious examples of the lack of personal interaction when everyone is glued to their mobile phones, oblivious to what is going on around them. It is seen in the fixated materialism, consumerism and the never-ending quest for material acquisition. It is seen in the lack of respect for persons and institutions, when the selfish assertion of ‘my rights’ prevails over notions of service, duty and loyalty. It is seen whenever and wherever we fail to intervene on matters of injustice; when we just walk by or fail to raise our voices in protest.

I believe that there is a call for all we who seek to live the Christian life, not simply to rejoice in the knowledge of the Good Shepherd whom we follow, but to actively emulate him and become the good shepherds for those around us. To recognise and shout out to our communities and wider society when we recognise the presence of one of those wolves, in whatever form. It is simply not an option for a follower of the Good Shepherd to act as a hired hand.

With every blessing,                                            Rev. Chris

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