Friday, March 29, 2013

The Smell of the Sheep & Sound Doctrine

Today is Good Friday.

Yesterday, there was something in the Holy Father's homily during the Chrism Mass that struck me when he referred to the "smell of the sheep".  Click HERE to watch a clip.

That's right!  Sheep smell.  In addition to being not so bright and susceptible to attack by wolves, sheep just down right smell.

It appealed to me because Peter's task is to feed the sheep.  I never really thought much about the dynamics of feeding sheep.  But the Pope's point is to know the sheep and be with the sheep in the outskirts.

Here's a cute picture of a lamb that made me chuckle.  For credit, it's called "Irish Lamb" by moonjazz, and I found it from this link HERE.

There's something attractive about the task of the shepherd feeding the sheep...spiritually speaking.

So how does one learn the smell of the sheep?  Simple.  By being with them.  We smell the sheep so that we know them and can feed them.

Spiritually speaking, those of us charged with the task of handing on the Deposit of Faith as it has been handed on from the time of the Apostles feed the sheep with the food of the Good Shepherd.

Yes, we need to "be" with the sheep, especially in the "outskirts", and we need to know what the sheep smell like, and it's with the end goal of feeding them with sound doctrine.  This means that teaching sound doctrine is what smelly sheep need.

The Pope spoke of  "shepherds living with 'the smell of the sheep', shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men."

The postmodern age in which the Church finds herself, the sheep in the outskirts are right in our own backyard.  In the West, the outskirts are just about everywhere.  A postmodern sheep in a culture of death needs healthy doctrine, a teaching that is heavenly and nourishes the soul.

If we have the teachings of the Church to feed smelly sheep, then it is our task to faithfully hand those teachings on to them.  We go to the outskirts, to places untouched by the Gospel, to places where even priests are not welcomed let alone any Catholic.

Feed my sheep, Jesus commands Peter.  Tend my sheep.  Three times He commands Peter for this task.  Three times shows its importance.

We must feed the sheep with sound doctrine.



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