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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Feed My Sheep 

by Fr. David M. Knight


June 28, 2024

Friday of the Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time 

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop, Martyr, and Doctor of the Church 

Lectionary 375 

2 Kgs 25:1-12/Mt 8:1-4 (375) 

 

2Kings 25:1-12: Zedekiah’s rebellion brought on the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation “of the last of the people remaining in the city.” None were left but “some of the country’s poor... left behind as vinedressers and farmers.” 

 

During the siege “the king and all the soldiers left the city by night.” When the Chaldean army “pursued the king and overtook him,” he was “abandoned by his whole army.” Those whose rule is guided by desire for prestige and power, instead of by concern for the good of the people, cannot expect loyalty. Once powerless, they will be abandoned.  

 

Jesus never sought prestige or power. But some of his followers did, even his closest disciples. Some followed Jesus because they thought God had sent him to defeat all their enemies, and bring peace and prosperity to the land by ruling as king. When it became clear he was not going to be that kind of Messiah, the “chief priests, elders and scribes” were able to “persuade the crowds” to join them in shouting for his death. Once people saw that Jesus was not where the power was, many abandoned him.

 

Power attracts. But those who cluster with power have no loyalty. Those who use ministry as a means to power will one day find themselves alone. 

 

In Matthew 8:1-4 Jesus shows his respect for authorities and law. Jesus tells the leper he has cured to follow Leviticus, chapter 14, that said those cured of leprosy must be examined by a priest and bring a gift for sacrifice. 

 

The word “priest” is rarely used in the Gospels in a positive sense. The “chief priests” are always presented as Jesus’ enemies, although this is not to be presumed of the rank and file. So it is significant that Jesus insisted on respect for the legitimate authority and function of the clergy. It was not the priests as such who rejected him, but those who valued their power and prestige. 

 

Jesus extended this same respect to the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees, though their authority was more by custom and common acceptance than by official status: “The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do....” Still, he said their teaching had to be questioned: “Watch out, and beware of the yeast... [that is] the teaching, of the Pharisees.” And he pointed out teachings of theirs that were wrong. The key is to identify the spirit of those who teach. Beware of the rigid and self-righteous. God’s spirit is nurturing love: “Feed my sheep.”

 

Initiative: Fear desire for power in oneself and in those who don’t fear it. 


Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry




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