‘Doom for the shepherds who allow the flock of my pasture to be destroyed and scattered – it is the Lord who speaks! This, therefore, is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds in charge of my people: You have let my flock be scattered and go wandering and have not taken care of them.
Right, I will take care of you for your misdeeds – it is the Lord who speaks! But the remnant of my flock I myself will gather from all the countries where I have dispersed them, and will bring them back to their pastures: they shall be fruitful and increase in numbers. I will raise up shepherds to look after them and pasture them; no fear, no terror for them any more; not one shall be lost – it is the Lord who speaks!
‘See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks –
when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David,
who will reign as true king and be wise,
practising honesty and integrity in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel dwell in confidence.
And this is the name he will be called:
First reading for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Woe to the faux-shepherds. But the Lord will not allow his love and care to be curtailed and constrained by them, by us. He finds new ways to share what he longs to share. And he will continue to do this with the help of humankind, witting or unwitting.
Base of Jesus Tree. Pre-reformation carving in St Mary’s Priory, Abergavenney. © 2017, Allen Morris