by Fr Richard Heilman | May 4, 2020 3:33 AM
I have a theory. It’s just a theory, based on my observations.
UPDATE: I am recommending we all pray the Pentecost Novena for our Priests and Bishops (Friday, May 22 – Saturday, May 30).
First, Let’s Look at Our First Shepherds …
The Twelve Apostles are referred to as “our first Bishops or Shepherds.” Don’t we know, from reading Sacred Scripture, that they all faced a “crisis moment,” as things heated up. In that moment, they reacted differently.
Now, we know what Judas did, as enemy forces were encamped around Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus. Most scripture scholars say that the cold heart of Judas saw this “movement” as a kind of business or organization. In Judas’ mind, Jesus was expendable … Jesus was simply collateral damage – a “write off” – in the overall desire to keep the movement going. So, Judas set Jesus up for thirty pieces of silver. Judas was detached from any sense of supernatural realities at work … it’s a business, so one makes “business decisions.”
There were ten other Apostles who behaved in a different way, when things heated up. These ten Apostles deserted him and fled in “silent self-protection.” Our first pope, Peter, would even go on to deny (3 times) he even knew Jesus. Peter disowned or “distanced” himself from Jesus.
There was one of the Twelve Apostles that was willing to risk his reputation, and even his life, to stay with Jesus all the way to the foot of the Cross. That was John the Beloved.
So, here is my theory …
In my observations, I have noticed a parallel to the “First Shepherds,” among our present day Shepherds (Priests & Bishops).
JUDAS SHEPHERDS – 1/12TH: Praise God that the number of these is very small. I am not necessarily focusing only upon those who engaged in impurity, or covered up such things. Yes, they are a part of the 1/12th. I refer, mainly, to those who seem to have no “supernatural faith,” just like Judas. They treat the Church like a business, and are immersed in their “business dealings.” These are the ones that have no difficulty aligning themselves with government, organizations or special interest groups that oppose the Holy Spirit. Again, praise God, the number of these is small.
SILENT SHEPHERDS – 10/12TH: In my observation, it seems a number of priests & bishops are much like the 10 Apostles who, when things heated up, deserted Jesus and fled. Unlike Judas, who betrayed and undermined Jesus – they are not bad – these are timid souls who just simply “distanced” themselves from him in silence. These are the shepherds, in my observation, who remain mostly silent in these immensely demonically influenced times in which we live today.
However, it must be noted that the forces of evil in our times may be the strongest and most aggressive they have ever been, especially in our age of “instant information” … “instant propaganda.” Shepherds are facing an enormous Goliath.
Because of their timidity, they are not taking their necessary role of “influencers in our times” and, instead, they have ceded the culture to the enemy … those who oppose the Holy Spirit: The media, Hollywood, TV, universities, public schools, theater, the arts, literature, and the like. These are the wolves who move in to devour the sheep with their propaganda of calling evil, good and calling good, evil. These are the wolves who are making every effort, and mostly succeeding, to normalize evil in our times. We need brave shepherds, especially now!
JOHN THE BELOVED GOOD SHEPHERDS – 1/12TH: These are the courageous shepherds of our times who are putting their reputations on the line to “stand with Jesus,” just as things are heating up. These are the shepherds who are, intently, on the look out for the wolves, and doing all they can to protect the sheep, mainly by warning them of the deceptions of the wolves.
Recently, Dr. Scott Hahn chose to point to some of the “John the Beloved Good Shepherds”:
April 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Renowned author and Scripture scholar extraordinaire Scott Hahn says he’s not sure there’s anyone who has been shepherding Catholics as “courageously” as Cardinal Raymond Burke, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, and Bishops Athanasius Schneider have.
Scott Hahn said, “I think we have got to rethink almost everything from the ground up to realize that this Catholic faith is the only thing that will make sense out of our lives and our world and our own sins and the sinfulness of this world. And I believe that’s exactly what Archbishop Viganò was getting at, as well as Cardinal Burke. And, I say, Archbishop Schneider’s book has opened my eyes to this as much as anything I’ve ever read. So thank you for pointing to those three good shepherds. There are a lot of others as well, thank God, but I’m not sure there are anyone who has been shepherding the flock are courageously as those three.”
Don’t we know that the Apostles were huddled in the Upper Room, when Jesus penetrated obstacles – a locked door – and breathed on them with the power of the Holy Spirit. In that moment, empowered by the Holy Spirit, they left their timidity behind, and became John the Beloved Good Shepherds. They would then go forth from the Upper Room to stand against the forces of evil in their times, boldly speaking the truth with love, even when that meant they would be martyred. That accepted their call to be “influencers.”
During this worldwide pandemic, Pentecost falls on the Feast of the Visitation (May 31), when the unborn baby, John the Baptist, in Elizabeth’s womb jumped for joy in the Presence of the unborn baby, Jesus, in the Blessed Mother’s womb. Let’s pray that our Shepherds receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will empower them to be the “influencers of our culture” they’re called to be.
We desperately need “John the Beloved Good Shepherds!”
I am recommending we all pray the Pentecost Novena for our Priests and Bishops (Friday, May 22 – Saturday, May 30).
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