First Reading: Acts 20:28-38
Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities, and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, `It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" And when he had spoken thus, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And they all wept and embraced Paul and kissed him, sorrowing most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they should see his face no more. And they brought him to the ship.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 68:29-30, 33-36
Summon thy might, O God; show thy strength, O God, thou who hast wrought for us. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem kings bear gifts to thee. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; lo, he sends forth his voice, his mighty voice. Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and his power is in the skies. Terrible is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel, he gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!
Gospel: John 17:11-19
And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.
My flock. My flock flutters around my ankles like a swam of mosquitos, some days. Nipping, nagging, tugging, trying me. It's not easy to remember what it means to care for them. To really, really care for them—the way Saint Paul reminds us, the way our Lord reminds us in the Gospel.
Am I keeping them near to Jesus? Am I keeping their little souls safe guarded from the wolves of the world, from outside evils and from my own sin? Am I shepherding them the way Jesus commanded me to? The way He longs to see His beloved flock shepherded?
Or do I become the wolf? A wolf in in my anger, a wolf in my laziness, a wolf in my pride, and in my greed.
It's so easy to do, right? It's so easy to forgot that this little flock has been given to us to tend. And not lightly or casually, but with a deep knowledge of the value of each one of their souls and a real faith in their total uniqueness and Divine Sonship—that which makes them wholly His, that which makes us wholly His.
Who is your flock? Husband? Child? Friend?
Let's try harder to see them for who they are—His. Let's try harder to be to them who we were made to be- guardians, shepherdesses, protectors. Let's work harder to fend off the evils that pervade their little worlds.
Let's fight against the darkness in our own hearts so that we can push them into the Light.
Blythe Fike is the wife of Kirby and mother of 5 smallish kids. She homeschools and loves the quiet life in small town SoCal. You can find out more about her here.