5. The flock needs a shepherd
Jesus Christ Himself used this metaphor referring to the Church, reflecting what happens in the natural realm: the flock goes nowhere if it is not led by a shepherd.
If the Church is the Great Flock of Jesus Christ, He is, in turn, the Great Shepherd of the sheep of that flock.He appointed other men as His successors to continue His mission in the office of leaders of the sheep: As the Father hath sent me, I also send you; said Jesus Christ addressing His apostles.
But just as in the natural world not everyone is qualified to exercise the office of pastor, despite the fact that this job does not requires special qualifications, a fortiori the same can be said about the Church, where he who is responsible for the sheep of the Flock of Christ must face the most difficult and important task any human being can accomplish: the salvation of souls.
Jesus Christ carefully distinguished between good and bad shepherds; He pointed out that He is The Good Shepherd and described the proper functions of any true shepherd. Since then, all those who have been appointed Shepherds in the Church have a clear-cut comprehension of the way they must follow: none other than walking after the steps of Jesus Christ.
But this mission, which springs from Jesus Christ Himself and has been entrusted to some men chosen to lead the sheep of His Flock, places upon their shoulders the weight of the loftiest of all responsibilities. From now on their lives do not belong to them but to the sheep alone. This is why the Good Shepherd exerts Himself to save His sheep from the dangers that threaten them, risking even His life: The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep: And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep.
And any good shepherd will have plenty of opportunities to offer up his life. The Flock constantly walks through a field fraught with danger. Saint Peter urged the sheep to be vigilant because the Devil or Great Adversary is lurking, walking around seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet 5: 8); a prudent warning which has become particularly relevant in the modern world, where the power of the Evil One has risen to degrees never before known in the history of the Church. Jesus Christ was quite clear in this regard when He warned the sheep about the World:If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you.Wonder not, brethren, if the world hate you; said the Apostle Saint John.
Unfortunately, if one contrasts the texts of Scripture with the present situation of the Church, invaded by a modernist heresy that has affected the very Hierarchy to the point of having led most of its members to a general apostasy, the resulting view is spine-chilling. The faithful have been pushed by droves into a veritable dispersion once a large number of Pastors, from the highest officials of the Hierarchy to the most humble parish priests, have been seduced by this heresy and have become derelict in the duties entrusted to them.
The examination of the texts and their application to the reality of everyday life –something which is not usually done in the Church today—yields results that would have caused great fear had the Church not lost consciousness of her responsibility and the threat that is looming upon her.
According to Jesus Christ, He is the Good Shepherd and the only door of the sheep. But He goes on to say:He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber;and the thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. As anybody can see, these words and expressions are quite strong. They clearly accuse the bad Shepherds of being nothing less than thieves and robbers; people who do not care about the sheep and do nothing except steal, kill and destroy.
Anyone who feels concerned about the present situation of Catholicism as well as of the conduct and the ways of many Shepherds who govern the Church (whose coryphaei range from the highest officials to the most humble priests) can reason in conscience whether these condemning words of Jesus Christ have any application to the current situation of the Church. If the answer is in the affirmative, the consequences to be drawn by anybody without prejudice are really frightening.
According to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd always goes before the sheep (Jn 10:4), which clearly means, as can be deduced from the connotations of this expression, that he is compelled to set himself as an example with the testimony of his life.
This task will inevitably lead any good shepherd to give up his life for his sheep. His mission of setting himself as an example, which at first sight is important but which in itself should not give rise to opposing attitudes, could derive into seriously committed situations for him; the reason being that the testimony of his example must accompany the preaching of the Word, otherwise the preaching would be a useless labor: both elements go hand in hand and need each other so inescapably. However, the preaching of the Word is as difficult a task as it is a committed business.
In effect, Christian life, as Jesus Christ Himself said, is a narrow and strait way that leads to life, and hence few there are who find it (Mt 7:14). This is why the Doctrine laying it out is arduous and difficult, often contrary to human nature which, being weak and inclined to evil, is not willing to receive it. The result is easy to appreciate: more often than not, the faithful will hear the preaching in disgust. And in today’s Church, where the faithful have been bombarded with modernist doctrines for over fifty years, the attitude of criticism and rejection of the preacher of the Word who is sincere and faithful to the mission received will be a habitual and current stance. This attitude is worsened by the same modernist doctrines that have spread the false doctrine of the parity between clergy and laity and have diluted the image and function of the priest. Moreover, as if the prophecies that announced Merciless Times had already been fulfilled and the Church would be standing in the threshold of a veritable apostasy, each faithful believes himself to be the arbitrator and judge to judge and decide everything; at the same time, they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.
It is especially here where the good Shepherd will feel that the words of Jesus Christ become real in his own flesh: Except the grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Unfortunately, however, in the modernist Church of the general defection of the Hierarchy, from highest ranking officials of the utmost responsibility to the humblest priests, good shepherds willing to die for the good of the souls entrusted to them will be a rare treasure to find.
(To Be Continued)
Fr. Alfonso Gálvez
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 Heb 13:20.
 Jn 20:21.
 Jn 10: 11-13.
 Jn 15:18.
 1 Jn 3:13. Cf Jn 15:19.
 Jn 10:7.
 Jn 10:1.
 Jn 10:10.
 2 Tim 4: 3-4.
 Jn 12:24.