False Shepherds and Fake Sheep
“Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
We read the above Gospel on the fourteenth Sunday of Pentecost, but have we taken it to heart?
It was recently recommended to me to read the 34th chapter of Ezechiel. It is a fascinating summary of the last century of the Catholic Church.
Verses 1-5 five can be summarized by this from Saint Francis "Feed my sheeps says the Lord to Peter" (John 21:17). Mark well. The Lord says three times: Feed my sheep. But not even once does he say: Fleece or milk them." And this is what many priests and bishops were doing before Vatican II, and many Traditionalists are doing today. They are fleecing and milking the sheep. Why are they doing this? Because they are hirelings. “But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep: And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep.” (John 10:12-13)
Jesus says in the verse before: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.” And he continues afterwards: “I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep.” We are all called to be like Jesus in this manner, that is good shepherds. This is the vocation of the Pope, of the Bishops he appoints to the various dioceses and of the pastors the diocesan bishops appoint over the various parishes.
False priests and bishops are condemned by God in Ezechiel 34:10: “Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I myself come upon the shepherds, I will require my flock at their hand, and I will cause them to cease from feeding the flock any more, neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more: and I will deliver my flock from their mouth, and it shall no more be meat for them.”
Malachias warns: “ And now, O ye priests, this commandment is to you. If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name, saith the Lord of hosts: I will send poverty upon you, and will curse your blessings, yea I will curse them, because you have not laid it to heart. Behold, I will cast the shoulder to you, and I will scatter upon your face the dung of your solemnities, and it shall take you away with it” (2:1-3)
Jeremias also warns of the destruction wrought by false shepherds: “Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot: they have changed my delightful portion into a desolate wilderness. They have laid it waste, and it hath mourned for me. With desolation is all the land made desolate; because there is none that considereth in the heart.” (Jeremias 12:10-11) Yes the shepherds at Vatican II turned the Church into a wilderness. We read the reason: “because there is none that considereth in the heart.” Saint Alphonsus says that this means no one was making the prayer of holy meditation, which I have often recommend we make the center of our lives.
Jeremias gives us hope in verse 14: “And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: because they shall return to me with their whole heart.” Let us pray that God will give us this heart to know Him. And this will take a lot of prayer on our parts, because we must overcome the false maxims of the world, which bombard us morning, noon and night, if we let them.
Now most of what I have spoken has been to those who are Shepherds in the life of the Church. But much of what is said can be applied to the fake sheep as well. That is those who sit in the pew Sunday after Sunday, lookin good on the outside but inside they are raging wolves, "pillars of the Church", heads held high thanking God they are not like many of the others sitting in the pews around them. Listen well....
Saint Paul says: “Which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom; but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined.”(II Corinthians 2:13-14)
The Douay notes: “The sensual man: The sensual man is either he who is taken up with sensual pleasures, with carnal and worldly affections; or he who measureth divine mysteries by natural reason, sense, and human wisdom only. Now such a man has little or no notion of the things of God. Whereas the spiritual man is he who, in the mysteries of religion, takes not human sense for his guide: but submits his judgment to the decisions of the church, which he is commanded to hear and obey. For Christ hath promised to remain to the end of the world with his church, and to direct her in all things by the Spirit of truth.”
And so let us ask ourselves this serious question: Am I as spiritual as I should be or am I as sensual as the world, the flesh and the devil tell me I should be?
Yesterday's epistle was from Galatians (5:16-24) I hope each Lord's Day in your hours of prayer, reading and meditation you are taking the readings from the Missal to heart and meditating on them, for God is speaking to us through them: “And they that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences.” Have we crucified our flesh? If we haven't then we are not ready for ministry as Saint John Vianney among others would remind us. And Jesus tells us in the Gospel: “No man can serve two masters,” and yet we try to be balanced Catholics which is another way of saying lukewarm Catholics. We want to be holy enough to sneak in the back door of purgatory, when everyone reading this is called to be a saint. My friends we are praying for an end to the Great Apostasy, and yet its spirit lives within our own hearts.
As Good Shepherds, let us consider two points before making our resolution. Not only the Shepherds but for those who claim to be the Sheep of the flock should consider these points
“But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” (Apocalypse 3:16) The Holy Ghost compares the lukewarm to vomit. This is why the Traditionalist movement stinks, because many if not most in the movement is at best lukewarm. We need to be on fire with the love of God.
“And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezechiel 36:26) We need a spiritual heart transplant and that is the work of Almighty God. And so let us go to the Divine Physician and ask Him to remove our heart of stone and replace it with a heart of love.
Resolution: I will devote more of my time to considering holy things in my heart, so that I can root out all of my sensuality and become on fire with the love of God.