Prophets of all times since the Old Testament have mentioned the Shepherd Who would gather His flock.
“Here comes with power the Lord God, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care” (Isaiah 40, 10-11).
Ezekiel clearly tells us about the Shepherd and His Flock:
“For thus says the Lord God: I myself will look after and tend my sheep. As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so I will tend my sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. I will lead them from among the peoples and gather them from foreign lands; I will bring them back to their own country and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel … In good pastures will I pasture them, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing ground. There they shall lie down on good grazing ground, and in rich pastures shall they be pastured on the mountains of Israel. I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest, says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 34, 11-15).
Ezekiel devotes the whole Chapter 34 to show that the Lord Himself will guide His people, the Church.
“You, my sheep, you are the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 34, 31).
The Lord has such a great zeal for His Flock that He Himself will replace the bad shepherds.
“Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep? You have fed off their milk, worn their wool, and slaughtered the fatlings, but the sheep you have not pastured. You did not strengthen the weak not heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the strayed nor seek the lost, but you lorded it over them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered and wandered over all the mountains and high hills; my sheep were scattered over the whole earth, with no one to look after them or to search for them… my shepherds did not look after my sheep, but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep…I swear I am coming against these shepherds, I will claim my sheep from them and put a stop to their shepherding my sheep so that they may no longer pasture themselves. I will save my sheep, that they may no longer be food for their mouths. …I myself will look after and tend my sheep” (Ezekiel 34, 1-11).
This long prophecy by Ezekiel shows God’s Love and great care for His people, nowadays gathered in the Church. This great Love makes the Shepherd lay down His life for His sheep.
“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10, 11).
The Church is also represented in the Gospel as “God’s field”, or “God’s building”, as Saint Paul says:
“For, we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (The First Letter to the Corinthians 3, 9).
Professor Felipe Aquino
Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino