Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Drawing near and knowing each other

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
April 26, 2015

John 10:11-18

When conflict and dissention began among the early Christians between different groups and leaders, someone felt the need to recall that, in Jesus' community, he alone is the Good Shepherd. Not just another shepherd but the authentic, real one, the model for all to follow.

This beautiful image of Jesus is a call to conversion directed at those who claim the title of "pastor" in the Christian community. The pastor who is like Jesus only thinks of his sheep, he doesn't "flee" in the face of problems, he doesn't "abandon" them. On the contrary, he is with them, defends them, bends over backwards for them, "risks his life" for their sake.

At the same time, this image is a call to fraternal communion among all. The Good Shepherd "knows" his sheep and the sheep "know" him. Only from this close proximity, from this mutual understanding and communion of the heart, does the Good Shepherd share his life with the sheep. Towards this fellowship and mutual understanding must we also walk in the Church today.

In these uneasy times for the faith, we need more than ever to join forces, seek together gospel criteria and guidelines for action to know in which direction we are to walk creatively toward the future.

However, this is not what's happening. Some conventional calls are made to live in communion, but we are not taking steps to create a climate of mutual listening and dialogue. On the contrary, discreditation and dissension is growing between bishops and theologians, between theologians of different tendencies, among movements and communities of different stripes, between groups and "blogs" of all kinds ...

But, perhaps, the saddest thing to see is how the rift between the hierarchy and the Christian people keeps growing. One would think they live in two different worlds. In many places, the "shepherds" and the "sheep" hardly know one another. It isn't easy for many bishops to be in tune with the real needs of the believers, to offer them the guidance and encouragement they need. It's hard for many faithful to feel affection and interest towards some pastors whom they see as remote from their problems.

Only believers full of the Spirit of the Good Shepherd can help us create the climate of rapprochement, mutual listening, mutual respect and humble dialogue we need so much.

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