Sunday, April 30, 2017

Folding the Bishops

Sermon for the Second Sunday after Easter

Here we are. We few, we happy few, as William Shakespeare might say. The same is true all around the country: little congregations like ours meeting in little places. We're few in number. Could we be described as a flock?

If we're too small to be a flock, shouldn't we go out and join a bigger flock, one with a proper shepherd who actually has sheep to manage?


There are many who would dismiss us because of our small size and because we are not "mainstream". Given that the majority always rules, surely they are justified in their thinking. If our Church came into existence only in the 1970s,  that really can't be the same Church of the previous two millennia, can it?

How do we recognise the Church?

Look to the Chief Shepherd!


There can only be one Chief Shepherd, and He is good... very good at His job. He knows who His sheep are and they know who He is. That's crucial. In order to be part of the flock, the sheep have to know who the shepherd really is. It's nothing to do with whether the sheep recognise each other, they need to know Who the Good Shepherd is and follow Him.

This is how Jesus creates the one fold of sheep  from so many different folds. If they all follow Him, they will be led to the green pastures. Look out into the panorama of History and see these flocks coming together from every time and place to be with Him!

The Good Shepherd is not a hireling, for the hireling is a sell-out - only in it for himself and his agenda, be it selfish, or philosophical, or political. The reason that a hireling tends the sheep is worldly and not within the Gospel of Jesus.


Our bishops are the shepherds under Our Lord. Where they are, the Catholic Church is there and so is the Good Shepherd. Our bishops know that they will have to lay down their lives for their flock in imitation of the Chief Shepherd. This is how we know we are truly part of the Church - that we seek Christ, and only Christ as our Chief Shepherd and maintain our community around our Bishop that He has appointed for us.

The numbers really have nothing to do with it. We only need one - one Good Shepherd, one fold, one faith, one Baptism.  All Christians are united in Him,  whether they like it, or not!

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