Pope Francis on May 4, 2018, outlined his image of a good bishop – and it looked much like the image of a good shepherd.
His comments came in his homily at morning mass in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican.
He said a good bishop is one who is close to his flock, awake and watching, defending and confirming them in the faith, according to Vatican News.
A good bishop is the “one who monitors, who guards — a sentinel who knows how to watch out in order to defend the flock from the wolves that come”, the Holy Father said. He noted that a true shepherd isn’t just an “employee” who is working for payment and doesn’t really care about the sheep he tends – echoing his homily of January 30, 2018, when he advised his shepherds: Show Jesus’ closeness and tenderness to your flocks. Always be in their midst, end your day tired from doing good, and never see your faithful only during your ‘hours.’
The Pope evoked the image of a bishop after the heart of Christ…a shepherd who knows the name of each sheep and is close to each one. He said the faithful can see if a bishop who doesn’t care much about them: a bishop who is always busy, who meddles in business, a businessman, one who is busy with things incompatible with his mission, one who is always going about everywhere suitcase-in-hand, or one with “guitar-in-hand”, for example.
The people of God really know that a shepherd is a shepherd, when he is close to them, when he is able to keep watch and give his life for them, the Holy Father said, emphasizing “closeness”.