The Priesthood Today

A reflection which Catholic Update requested on the priesthood today, which looks at the ordained ministry of the priest, and the priesthood of all believers, in this "Year for the Priest."  It's meant to be a rather non-academic, non-technical, and overall friendly introduction to the topic.  Maybe it will be of help those in catechetical roles.  Here's something on one of my favorite images of the priest, the shepherd.

'Now, the traditional image of “shepherd” may turn off some people either because they’re not from a farming culture—or because they don’t like thinking of themselves as sheep! But it nonetheless describes well the person who cares for everyone.

Let me illustrate that with a story. In the early 1990s I lived in Kenya and worked for the Jesuit Refugee Service. One day, while driving my Jeep in the countryside, a sheep ran out in front of me, crossed the road and headed off down a hill. Then, from out of nowhere, it seemed, a teenage shepherd, a Maasai boy, ran after the sheep. He clambered all the way down a steep rocky hill, found the sheep and pulled him back up. I couldn’t help but think not only of the image of the lost sheep—which I literally saw in front of me—but also the image of the Good Shepherd, who is Christ. That’s who the priest is supposed to emulate: the one who cares that much for his people, just like that young African boy.

So while for many people the shepherd image may be antiquated, for me it’s a beautiful one, not so much because it talks about the faithful as sheep, but because of the great invitation it offers to the priest—that is, to love.'

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Read the rest here at "The Priesthood Today: We're All in This Together."

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9 years ago
You're a great priest, Father James!
9 years ago
And woe to the shepherds who lead the sheep into the craggy canyons where the wolves can get them and there is no water to drink! To love is to lead a person to their true fulfillment and to avoid the many roads to perdition.
9 years ago
What imagery! Of the sheep and the shepherd. Thank you for sharing this, it is beautiful.

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