Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Voice of Good Shepherd Promises Safe Way Home

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Voice of Good Shepherd Promises Safe Way Home

Article excerpt

There is a dangerous trend developing in the workplace today. Employees who once were valued for their experience, education and expertise are being let go because they have to be paid more than new recruits. We all know people this has happened to. It happens when you work for the church, too.

The loyalty and dedication of employees seems to be of little value today and the loyalty of management sometimes takes a back seat to what is called cost-effectiveness.

How much is dedication worth? The gospel tells the beautiful story of the Good Shepherd. In our Lord's time, everyone who owned sheep in a town would place them under the care of a shepherd. At night, when the sheep came back to the village, they were placed in a communal sheepfold protected by stout walls with a sturdy door. Only the shepherd carried the key.

In good weather, however, the sheep would be quartered in pens in the fields. These pens had only a wall and an opening -- no door, So the shepherd stretched his body across the opening. He protected the sheep with his life.

When you work for wages only -- expecting no loyalty and giving none -- who cares for the ultimate good of the sheep, the people God calls his own? This may well be the question of our current culture.

It is cheaper and easier to dispose of industrial waste in the nearest river or garbage dump. To consider the longrange ramifications to the environment and human genetics dramatically cuts into profitability.

Major companies move to Third World countries because they don't have to pay taxes and because they can hire workers at a fraction of what they pay in the United States.

And what about individuals? What about us? How do we model loyalty, devotion, commitment? When something doesn't please us in our parish or church, do we work for a solution, accept a compromise, put our likes and dislikes into a communal perspective, or do we make accusations, cut back on our financial contributions or just leave without a word? …

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