The Green Shepherd

I love the book Pride and Prejudice. I’ve read it over and
over again. In fact, I’ve probably read it at least ten times. My husband
doesn’t see the allure of reading the same book repeatedly. If he sees me with
a book in hand, he’ll often say, “Reading Pride and Prejudice
again?” with a smirk. I patiently tell him the reason that I re-read it is
that I get something new out of it each time. (At least I think I tell
him patiently.) Each time I read P & P I see a slightly different
perspective or I catch a nuance to the dialog that I hadn’t noticed before. But
that doesn’t just happen when I read. Not long ago, I had a similar experience
during Mass.

As I sat in the pew, I found myself listening to the parable of the Good
Shepherd from the book of John, chapter 10. In it, Jesus tells his disciples,
I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the
sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees
a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and
scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the
sheep.”

As those words washed over me, I had a thought-“This parable is about
relationship!” The Good Shepherd cares for his sheep. He has a relationship with
them. That’s why he’s so committed to caring for them. The sheep don’t belong
to the hired man so, what does he care if they get eaten by wolves? He’ll just
go get another job. I’ve heard this parable before, many times, in fact. But
never had I thought about it in those terms. See? Repetition isn’t such a bad
thing.

Then it occurred to me, “This is what I’m trying to
communicate when I tell people about Green 4 God!” The main point to my
mission is to make people understand their relationship with Creation and with
the Creator. When those relationships are strong, we’re more committed to
caring for the earth. That commitment makes us more invested in Creation and its
health.

Think about it. If we don’t have a relationship with Creation (like the
hired man), it’s much easier for us to turn a blind eye to its issues. On the
flip side, when we do have a relationship with Creation (like the good
shepherd), we not only see the issues, we look for ways to fix
them.

This is good to remember in many aspects of our lives. When we have
relationships with other people in our neighborhood, parish or community, we
suddenly care what happens to them. We look out for their welfare. But, when we
go in and out of our house without saying hello to the guy next door; when we
sneak into Mass just before it begins and leave as soon as it’s over; when we
don’t pay attention to local news and issues; we have no connection to the
people around us and, therefore, very little concern about what happens to
them.

I don’t know about you but I’d much rather look out for others and hope they’re looking out for me in return.  So, as of today, I’m striving to be a Green Shepherd to Creation.  Won’t you join me?

Blessings from one Green Shepherd to another,

Laura

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