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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

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Titus 2:1-8, 11-14
Psalm 37:3-4, 18, 23, 27, 29
Luke 17:7-10

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"The grace of God has appeared, offering salvation to all men. It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires, and live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age." —Titus 2:11-12

Paul gave Titus the responsibility of giving orders to the old and young men. Titus should "tell the older men that they must be temperate, serious-minded, and self-controlled; likewise sound in the faith, loving, and steadfast" (Ti 2:2). He should "tell the young men to keep themselves completely under control," while he himself was to set a good example for them (Ti 2:6-7). Titus was not told to give orders to the women. The husbands had responsibility to lead their wives, and the older women were to teach the younger women by their example (Ti 2:3-5).

In this arrangement, three relationships are key: between the pastor and the men, the husband and wife, and the older and younger women. Very few churches or communities foster these three relationships and therefore are largely ineffective in shepherding the sheep. We see overworked pastors, inactive men, turbulent marriages, and a cliquish sisterhood. The sheep are not being nourished, protected, and healed; instead they are being snatched up by the wolves of the world.

If we truly love Jesus, the Good Shepherd, we will make tending the sheep a high priority (Jn 21:16), search God's word for pastoral patterns, and alter our relationships and lifestyle to maximize the care for the sheep. The whole flock must make decisions and sacrifices to be shepherded rightly. Will we be "good" shepherds and sheep or be hirelings sold to the world?

Prayer:  Father, may our churches become communities which feed, guide, and heal their members.

Promise:  "Trust in the Lord and do good, that you may dwell in the land and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and He will grant you your heart's requests." —Ps 37:3-4

Praise:  Stepping out in radical faith, Joanna's homeschooling has fostered a unique, lasting bond between her children and herself.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 6, 2006

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