Is 62:11-12; Ti 3:4-7; Lk 2: 15-20 (Christmas Mass at Dawn)
Feast of Christmas
This week’s gospel offers us some insight into the essence of “Shepherd Spirituality”:
1) The shepherds’ commitment to their own lives put them in the right place at the right time. There was only one time of the year – the early Spring or “lambing season” – when you would find shepherds out in the fields at night watching their sheep. Most of the time the sheep would be inside an enclosure at night to protect them from wolves. Such close quarters would have been dangerous to the tiny lambs, however, so it was necessary for a few shepherds to come together out in the open and to take turns watching the flock.
2)When the angel appeared, the shepherds shut up and listened. If you read the story of the shepherds in Luke’s gospel, you’ll notice that at no time is there any dialogue. The angel does all of the talking; the shepherds simply try and take this angelic announcement into their hearts.
3) They act out of Faith, not fear. Presumably, it was the humble faith of the shepherds that enabled them to see and to hear the angel and the heavenly host. Yet as the story indicates, such a dramatic and direct encounter with the transcendant God also left them trembling with fear. It was the shepherd’s faith in the truth of what the angel had told them, however, which overcame their fear and led them to meet the Son of God in person. Fear paralyzes. Faith moves us foward.
Embrace your life as the sacred ground of God’s presence. Remember that prayer is mostly about listening. Follow your Faith and not your fear. This Shepherd Sprituality is the Christmas gift I will pray that God grants to each one of us this year.
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
(Please let me know if I can ever be of service to your parish or Church group. I have a great deal of experience in leading days of prayer, retreats and seminars. You can reach me at: email@example.com)