These days the image of the spiritual leader, whether pastor, priest or missionary, has been tainted. 
There is much talk about the shortcomings and sins of God’s representatives on earth. 
There was even a direct encouragement from the president of this country to directly assault, harm, and even kill shepherds of the faith. 
True enough, death threats and real intimidation come to the doorsteps of many servants of the church.

The gospel paints a scenario that was true in the time of Jesus and in our own. 
“The harvest is great but the laborers are few.” There is so much to be done in the crucial area of evangelization, of proclaiming the Word of God to a people hungry for truth, thirsty for guidance and enlightenment.

In a way the crisis in the church today makes us realize that our leaders are not above nature but are limited and bound by the same human nature that we all have. 
But weaknesses and sins do not eliminate the need for laborers in the vineyard. 
The Lord still needs men and women to join him in his crusade for salvation of souls and liberation of human situations.

Why should we care about our shepherds? 
To begin with, the Lord commands us to pray for them. 
“Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” 
Serving the Lord is not a professional career; it is not a profitable venture, nor a gainful job (do they know this?). 
Service in the church is a gift from the Lord. 
It is he who calls and sends his laborers. 
That is why we should pray that he send us good and holy servant-leaders.

Praying for them gives us a participation in their indispensable work of bringing the gospel to those who need God’s message most in our world today. 
Knowing that people pray for them, priests and other church leaders feel more responsible and conscientious in their service and commitment.

Also, when we care for our shepherds, we begin to realize that they do not have a monopoly of service. 
We are not mere spectators in the vineyard but each one has a role to play. 
We are not passive recipients of the Gospel but active participants in the mission the Lord gives us, according to our state in life. 
Some are married, single, widows, youth, elderly, professionals, students, priests or sisters – but all are called to work together so that the Word of God will spread to the ends of the earth.

Let us pray for our shepherds to strengthen and inspire them. 
Let us pray that we may become shepherds in the places God sends us.

 (paki-share po para lalong makatulong sa iba at dumami ang magpuri sa Panginoon. thanks po!)