"Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you frauds!" —Matthew 23:13, 15 Jesus called the religious leaders of His day "frauds," "blind guides" (Mt 23:16), and "blind fools" (Mt 23:17), among other things. Jesus did not say these things in sinful anger. He was simply being forthright in correcting the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus continues to deal forthrightly with religious leaders. He knows they must render an account to Him for the people they are responsible to lead (Heb 13:17). They need our help desperately. We give thanks for our religious leaders. It takes courage to turn their life over to this calling. They are as brave as someone going off to war. God's Word tells us what we should do for our leaders: Respect — "Respect those among you whose task it is to exercise authority in the Lord" (1 Thes 5:12).Obey — "Obey your leaders and submit to them" (Heb 13:17), as long as they do not command anything contrary to God's law (Acts 4:19), and even when they don't practice what they preach (Mt 23:3).Intercede — "I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men, especially for kings and those in authority" (1 Tm 2:1-2).Love — "Love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pt 4:8). Loving our leaders includes forgiving them.Some religious leaders are in imminent danger of eternal damnation. You can help them at this most critical time of their lives. Prayer: Father, may those who have preached to others not be lost themselves (1 Cor 9:27).Promise: "The gospel proved not a mere matter of words for you but one of power." —1 Thes 1:5Praise: Dennis corrects his children as Jesus did — with love.
An exposition on John by Saint Thomas Aquinas I am the Good Shepherd. Surely it is fitting that Christ should be a shepherd: for just as a flock is guided and fed by a shepherd, so the faithful are fed by Christ with spiritual food and with his own body and blood. The Apostle said: You were once like sheep without a shepherd, but now you have returned to the guardian and ruler of your souls.The Prophet has said: As a shepherd he pastures his flock. Christ said that the shepherd enters through the gate and that he is himself the gate as well as the shepherd. Then it is necessary that he enter through himself. By so doing, he reveals himself, and through himself he knows the Father. But we enter through him because through him we find happiness. Take heed: no one else is the gate but Christ. Others reflect his light, but no one else is the true light. John the Baptist was not the light, but he bore witness to the light.It is said of Christ, however: he was the true light that enlightens every man. For this reason no one says that he is the gate; this title is Christ's own. However, he has made others shepherds and given that office to his members; for Peter was a shepherd, and so were the other apostles and all good bishops after them. Scripture says: I shall give you shepherds according to my own heart. Although the bishops of the Church, who are her sons, are all shepherds, nevertheless Christ refers only to one person in saying: I am the Good Shepherd, because he wants to emphasise the virtue of charity. Thus, no one can be a good shepherd unless he is one with Christ in charity. Through this we become members of the true shepherd. The duty of a good shepherd is charity; therefore Christ said: The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep. Know the difference between a good and a bad shepherd: the good shepherd cares for the welfare of his flock, but the bad shepherd cares only for his own welfare. The Good Shepherd does not demand that shepherds lay down their lives for a real flock of sheep. But every spiritual shepherd must endure the loss of his bodily life for the salvation of the flock, since the spiritual good of the flock is more important than the bodily life of the shepherd, when danger threatens the salvation of the flock. This is why the Lord says: The good shepherd lays down his life, that is, his physical life, for his sheep – this he does because of his authority and love. Both, in fact, are required: that they should be ruled by him, and that he should love them. The first without the second is not enough. Christ stands out for us as the example of this teaching: If Christ laid down his life for us, so we also ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.