Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Excerpts from Fr. Mertes’ sermon

Excerpts from Fr. Mertes’ sermon about the good and bad shepherd,
April 17, 2005

Sheep offer their shepherd something very essential: trust. Trust is the most precious gift that is provided in the asymmetrical relationship between sheep and shepherd. The shepherd can only have one answer to that: assume responsibility. The stronger the relationship, the less the shepherd can give up his responsibility. The responsibility “from above” is not bound to the trust “from below”. The sheep recognize the good shepherd simply because of his unconditional good will and his readiness to assume responsibility for them: they recognize “the voice” of the good shepherd. In the voice of the bad shepherd there is always some self interest, some condition, a back door through which one can flee from responsibility. Therefore it is legitimate to say that bad shepherds are “thieves and robbers”: they want something from the sheep for themselves. They have their own interest (and usually hide it). The motive of self interest is the basic sin of the bad shepherd. Bad shepherds are afraid of the sheep, in particular, of the strong sheep and this is why they mistreat them and finally disperse the flock.

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