FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2015
PASTURING THE SHEEP
November 23, 2014
In the call to the New Evangelization, we are to search for the lost sheep, which are the 99 of the 100. These are the people whom Jesus gave his life for. God loves the world and wants everyone to come to salvation and make it to heaven. Thus God says, “Look! I myself will search for my sheep and examine them.” (Ez 34:11).
God looks for the lost, all of whom He loves. They are both the spiritually lost and the materially or emotionally deprived. God created a wonderful world for everyone to live in, for everyone to partake of the bounty He has provided. “In good pastures I will pasture them; on the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down on good grazing ground; in rich pastures they will be pastured on the mountains of Israel.” (Ez 34:14). With the bountiful resources in the world God created, there should be no one in need. But unfortunately there are. And many are hurting.
And so God searches for His flock. “The lost I will search out, the strays I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, and the sick I will heal” (Ez 34:16a). Now God searches for His sheep through us. We are the ones commissioned to proclaim the gospel of salvation in Jesus. We stand in his place.
That is quite a responsibility. We are already part of God’s flock, and we are now to be His instruments. And because this work is of utmost importance to God, then we will be held accountable. “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.” (Ez 34:17). This is precisely what Jesus says about the end of time, at the judgment of the nations. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, with all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Mt 25:31-32).
God will judge us at the end of time. God will separate the sheep from the goats. What will be the criterion? It is what we did for the least of our brethren. Did we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, cloth the naked, care for the ill, visit the prisoner? (Mt 25:35-36). Those who did so will be rewarded. “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Mt 25:34b).
Notice something significant. It is Jesus who sends us, and so it is Jesus whom we serve when we serve the poor. But much more profoundly, Jesus identifies himself with the poor. “For I was hungry …., I was thirsty ….” When we serve the poor, we not only do service for Jesus, but we serve Jesus himself. Indeed we need to see Jesus in the faces of the poor
For the year 2015, our focus will be on the poor, on building the Church of the Poor. We will seek to understand more one of our seven Core Values, Living a Preferential Option for the Poor. This is challenging work. And our response will have eternal consequences. The choice will be yours. Be on the right or on the left; be among the sheep or among the goats (Mt 25:33).
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