Woe to You, Shepherds

Ezeqiel 34 St Francis de Sales NYC.jpg

I know that the Bible is relevant. I know that God still speaks to us through what may seem like a very ancient text. Yet, I am more often then not, so very surprised by the word of God. Today, I'm just dumbfounded.

I was on vacation last week enjoying the last few beach days before heading back to my desk to get serious about calendars and planning for the upcoming year in the parish. In speaking with a dear friend on the Feast of the Assumption, he said to me cautiously, "How long have you been on vacation?" I had been so off the radar that I had missed the news about the Pennsylvania scandals in the church. I spent the rest of the week reading everything I could, (thank you America and NCR) and trying to prepare myself for Sunday liturgies back in the parish.

Truly Sunday was a long day. I am filled with admiration for the men I am in ministry with, who preached so humbly, so eloquently of their sadness, their fear, their shame for the church we love, and their hope and the challenge that the laity might finally have their voice heard and find the ability to claim our leadership potential. It was a lot to take in.

I know praying is not the answer in and of itself. Dear God, those poor victims...how can we ever know how to help them heal from such a horrible abuse of power. I don't know how it was ever allowed to happen. In my prayer, I am seeking a viable answer to the question what am I supposed, what are WE supposed to do now? What is the next appropriate action step? The whole "see, judge, act" component of Catholic Social Justice is gnawing at me....We are finally starting to see this sin and call it what it is, we can certainly judge it as evil, but now what...how do we stand for and support our sisters and brothers who have been victimized by the shepherds of our church? How do we hold our Bishops accountable?

As I look at the first reading for this coming Wednesday, as I prepare my reflections for our morning prayer, I feel like I've gotten punched in the gut...for Ezekiel says..."Woe to the shepherds of Israel...my sheep have been given over to pillage, for lack of a shepherd. I swear I am coming against these shepherds, says the Lord God. I will save my sheep." I guess if I were a Bishop these days I'd be nervous.

I know whatever action I seek to take, we look to take, must be rooted in prayer. I know most times folks don't comment on this blog when they see it, but for this I'd be really curious to know...if I picked a weeknight, an hour, to invite folks to come together to pray for our sisters and brothers who were victimized, to pray for healing, to pray for wisdom and humility on the part of our shepherds...would you come pray with me? I don't know what else to do right now, accept pray...and then to ask God and my companions in prayer, what do we do next?

Please let me know what you think: jayneporcelli@sfdsnyc.org. Thank you.

Jayne Porcelli