Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Good Shepherd Sunday

Did you know that the Latin word “Pastor” is literally translated “Shepherd”?

That was clearly in the mind of Pope Francis when he said that pastors ‘should have the smell of the sheep on them’.  His point is that pastors need to be down-to-earth leaders who feel what people feel and have ‘pastoral hearts’.    

That same thinking underlies many of his homilies and writings.  Recently he reminded Pastors that we should not be overly legalistic when we deal with people’s situations and decisions.  He did not advocate changing church laws, but he made room for pastoral responses.

Pastoral responses help people look at their situations and to make good conscience decisions in the light of them. 

The Holy Father also reminds us that we must follow our consciences.  And  he points out that it’s a pastor’s role to help people form their consciences …but not replace them. 

Jesus followed His conscience too.  Some Scribes and Pharisees didn’t like that.  For example, He healed people on the Sabbath Day. Why? Because Jesus looked at their situations and decided that was the best thing He could do for them.   He was a Good Shepherd.

Consider this: Pastors aren’t the only shepherds in the world.  In many ways, all of us are shepherds.  How are you a good shepherd?  Who has been a good shepherd to you?

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