“Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves!” —Ezekiel 34:2
We see in today’s Gospel parable the effects of a shepherd pasturing himself. Some faithful laborers worked a full day in the Lord’s service, but at the end of the day, they focused on “what’s in it for me,” such as assuming they would get a greater reward (see Mt 20:10ff). This focus is understandable from a human viewpoint. But Jesus teaches that it’s not to be the focus of His disciples. If we fix our eyes on what we get rather than on what Jesus gets, we are in danger of “pasturing ourselves,” rather than focusing on the sheep (see Ez 34:10).
Jesus wants us to focus on the welfare of the sheep and on the generous love of the Master rather than focusing on our own welfare. By focusing on the sacrificial love of the Good Shepherd, we take our eyes off ourselves and “fix [our] eyes on Jesus” (Heb 3:1; see also 12:2). By focusing on the welfare of the sheep, we lay down our lives for our friends, not for ourselves (Jn 15:13). By serving others, we also serve Jesus, not ourselves (Mt 25:40).
Repent of any ways in which you might be pasturing yourself, in which you might be concerned with your own interests rather than those of Jesus (Phil 2:21). The shepherd loves his sheep and pours out his life for them (Jn 10:11). Let’s pour out our lives as a sacrificial offering for the Master and His sheep. Let’s leave our reward in the most generous hands of the Lord.
Prayer: Father, give me the heart of the Good Shepherd.
Promise: “Beside restful waters He leads me; He refreshes my soul.” —Ps 23:2-3
Praise: John used his retirement as a time to attend daily Mass and was often accompanied by his son.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
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