F1. In this reading the Lord speaks to the bad shepherds, i.e., the leaders of his people. What must be the priorities or values of a shepherd whose sheep tremble and fear? What are the priorities and values of “The Lord of Justice”?
F2. Imagine being a caretaker of people in the way that a shepherd is for sheep. What can you do about the fear people experience all over the world due to injustice? Can you do anything to remedy any of the injustice? Is there anything you can do about unfair situations in your own living area?
S1. Paul, a Jew preaching to Gentiles, became a Christian preaching to Jews. There was a barrier or “dividing wall,” according to Paul. Discuss dividing walls present today among peoples of different beliefs, races or cultures.
S2. Are there dividing walls today that seem impenetrable to you? Using the present reading from Ephesians as a guide, how might people resolve their differences, or in other words break down walls that divide them? Can the families of victims forgive a killer? Does this action break down a dividing wall?
G1. What does Jesus do in this Gospel story that is an example of good shepherding? Discuss compassion versus power as attributes of good leadership.
G2. Pope Francis addressed the priests of Rome on the topic of mercy. He called to mind the scene in which Jesus is moved with pity for the vast crowd—who were tired and worn out “like sheep without a shepherd.” How does his statement below illustrate the line from the Gospel?
[Drawing attention to the many who] are wounded by material problems, by scandals, even in the Church and by the illusions of the world, the pontiff explained that We priests must be there, close to these people. Mercy means, above all, taking care of wounds. When a person is injured, this is the immediate help they need, not analysis; the special care can follow, but first we need to tend to the open wounds.
Pastoral suffering (is) suffering with the people, like a father and a mother suffer for their children, and I would say also with anxiety.
Pope Francis to Roman priests: Cry for Your People
**From Saint Louis University