Garabandal and the “fight for the shepherds”
Dear brothers and sisters, how are you?
May Jesus and Mary be praised!
The fourth Sunday of Easter is known as "Good Shepherd Sunday".
The gospel of this day contains in every liturgical cycle some part of the passage from John 10:1-30; a set of speeches by Jesus on the image of the shepherd and the sheep. In this Sunday's passage Jesus refers to the protection that God exercises over men who take refuge in Him.
The image of the shepherd and the sheep has many biblical roots. Important characters in Israel's history were shepherds. Like, for example, Abel (Gen. 4,2), Moses (Ex 3,1ff.) or David (1S 16, 11-13). David himself and his descendants would be, as was Joshua (Num 27, 17f.) Shepherds of his people.
However, it is God who is often attributed the role of shepherd who takes care of "his sheep", human beings (cf. Gen 49:15; Is 40:11; Ez 34:5; Ps 23:1; Si 18,13).
The gospel according to Saint John mentions that Jesus spoke this Sunday's words during the Jewish feast of the Dedication of the Temple. This feast commemorated the purification of the place and the dedication of the altar of sacrifices during the time of the Maccabees, who fortified the walls to protect the sacred precinct from desecrations similar to that of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (cf. I Mac. 4, 52-61 and 2 Mac. 10, 1-9). Jesus was, moreover, in the so-called porch of Solomon. Perhaps this walled enclosure, with solid columns, justifies the reference that Jesus makes to the protection he exercises over his sheep.
In the gospel we heard this weekend, Jesus narrates a parable. At that time, the villages had their community corral (sheepfold). The corral had a gate, through which the shepherds entered to call their sheep (who knew the voice of their shepherd), and through which the sheep passed to go graze.
In this context, strange subjects also appeared, who opened a gap in the fence instead of entering through the door: they were the thieves. So far the parable (verses 1-5). Then, Jesus explains: He himself is that door through which shepherds and sheep must pass. The pastor who does not pass by Him is not useful for the faithful; that is, an authentic shepherd does not feed the sheep by himself, or according to "his own head", but "lends" his voice so that the Lord himself can feed his sheep; in fact, they are "shepherds in the Shepherd". In practical terms, authentic shepherds are, rather, sheep that have allowed themselves to be led by the Good Shepherd; after that, well united to Him, they are able to lead the other sheep, according to the principles of the Gospel and the Doctrine taught by the Holy Church.
If it is true that pastors "must pass through Christ" to be true pastors, the faithful also have to pass through Him to find the life they are looking for: they need contact with the Word, they need Catechesis, they need the Doctrine, they need the life of prayer, they need the Sacraments and, in a very special way, they need the Blessed Sacrament, where the Good Shepherd of our souls is fully present.
Pastor himself is the one who passes through Jesus and makes the flock pass through Him. In this sense, the apostolic sermons presented in today's readings are eminently pastoral. They are the work of shepherds who passed through Christ and lead us to Him and – through Him – to the Father.
You see, in the 1st reading the call to conversion and entry into the "flock" through baptism, after Peter's preaching. And, in the 2nd reading, Peter reminds the faithful that, once lost sheep, they are now with the true shepherd, Jesus, inserted in His fold, which is the Church.
The fundamental sense of pastoral care is to go to men for Christ and lead them through him to true good. The ways can be many; formerly, more paternalistic perhaps; today, more participatory. But can one call pastoral a mere social or political action associated with sectors of the Church or its institutions? This is not, in itself, pastoral. To be pastoral, action needs to be guided by Christ's project, which he revealed to us by giving his life for us, it must have the objective of leading to Christ, inserting him in the Church and making every Christian live, in fact, a new life. .
Two great urgencies arise from this: the shepherds must go to the sheep, so that they do not get lost; and the sheep must flee from the bad shepherds who want to steal them. Faced with the advance of evil, we cannot stand idly by and we cannot cower; It is necessary that pastors, that is, those who have received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, take up their posts and offer to souls the preaching of the authentic magisterium of the Church, through good catechesis, well-founded preaching, through a firm spiritual direction and, of course, through the faithful celebration of the Sacraments of the Holy Church. Unfortunately, many communities have been led by cowardly and timid pastors, who are afraid to tell the truth, who keep the faithful in error and in a lukewarm life, who do not prepare their homilies well, who celebrate without mercy, without zeal, who maintain Church closed, tabernacle locked and who don't like prayer very much. We can't go on like this anymore! After all, while we waste time with endless meetings, with empty speeches and fairs and other entertainment activities, souls are lost and deceived by false shepherds, by soul thieves who, little by little, are taking the place of the good shepherd.
It is sad to realize that many souls are lost before the eyes of pastors. There are shepherds who belong to the sheep's house, who eat with them, who "are part of the family", but who are conniving with so many sins: fornication by young people, adultery by parents, drunkenness, worldly games and other things.
Aware of this frightening context, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother, comes to the aid of the Church. She is the Divine Shepherdess who, aware that every soul costs the Blood of Her Divine Son, does not want anyone to be lost and, for this reason, through Her apparitions, she poses as a "shepherd", unwilling to guide and lead the sheep to the true fold of His Divine Son: to the Catholic Church.
In Garabandal, Our Mother acts with great clarity and firmness, without losing her maternal "air". She herself recognizes and affirms that many bishops and priests are on the path of perdition, far from the true faith of the church, seeking to worldize the church to please the people. Unfortunately, these are the bad shepherds, who do not "enter through the Door", but want to create "new doors", more attractive, more interesting, less demanding, which may even attract people, but which do not transform anyone.
In the Second Message of Grabandal (18/06/1965), when Our Mother speaks about the shepherds who are on the path of perdition, she affirms that many souls are also going to that path. Here is a truth: in order to destroy souls, to corrupt the sheep, the world and the devil first corrupt the shepherd's heart. I think that here we find a great prophetic denunciation of Garabandal. But what to do about it? It is the Virgin Mary herself who gives the answer.
The first thing is that we must understand that, spiritually speaking, we are sheep, and this is our place! Being a "sheep" means that we are not able to guide ourselves alone, we are not able to lead our lives according to our wishes, desires and according to our thoughts. Even if, for example, I am a priest, I will never stop being a sheep, and I will only be able to lead well the sheep that the Lord entrusts to me if, first, I am obedient and docile to His voice, His Word and His will. .
In this regard, we find a very precise teaching in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Called to beatitude, but wounded by sin, man needs God's salvation. Divine help is given him in Christ, by the law that directs him and in the grace that sustains him" (n.1949); that is, we are called to blessedness, to eternal life, but we cannot reach this goal alone, we need to be guided, led, directed; we need the law of the Lord to guide us along the safest path and, even if we pass through the darkest valley, we must fear no harm, because the Good Shepherd is with us, through the shepherds He has appointed, and thus with staff and staff , the sheep walk safely.
That is why, within this context, in the Messages, the Blessed Virgin Mary says that we must visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently; in other words, we must turn to God, we must put Him first in our lives, and we must allow Him to feed us and lead us, so that happiness and all good can follow us throughout our lives and to that we may dwell in the house of the Lord for endless times.
Furthermore, in the Messages of Garabandal we find another "answer" for a concrete action that we can and must take in the face of this very great and difficult context of the corruption of the shepherds and, consequently, the loss of the sheep: the need to fight, spiritually, for the shepherds. Of course, like sheep, we all want good shepherds: good preaching, good catechesis, good direction, etc.; however, in these very difficult times, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as the Divine Shepherdess, comes to awaken us to this great mission: that of fighting for the shepherds. As? She answers!
First, we have to understand that we need spiritual weapons; That's why He teaches:
a) "we have to make many sacrifices, much penance, visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently..." and place ourselves before Jesus in the Eucharist, for our priests, in their name, adoring for them, interceding for them;
b) "You must turn away the wrath of God from yourselves by your efforts" and, in particular, it is very necessary that we offer reparations for the sins of priests – fasting, abstinences, corporal penance and other sacrifices, on behalf of the priests;
c) Ask God for forgiveness with the sincerity of our souls, (He will forgive you!), ask forgiveness also for the sins of the priests and, of course, first of all for our own sins;
Finally, I understand that, on this Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Our Mother, is calling us to a great mission: that of fighting for our bishops and priests, through an apostolate that we call Spiritual Maternity.
If it is true that many shepherds have been lost and, because of this, many sheep have been stolen by "thieves", let us fight for priests: fight for good shepherds to persevere and fight for the conversion of bad shepherds who, even though they are bad, they are priests and they need our help. Do you accept this mission? Soon, we will bring more details of this great apostolate that we will live!
And then, are we going to live Garabandal?
May the Lord, the Good Shepherd of our souls, defend us and lead us! May the Sweet Virgin Mary, the Divine Shepherdess, help those who are about to get lost, to return to the fold of the Holy Church.
With my prayers and priestly blessing,