Last weekend, my husband and I went to New Orleans to see one of our grandsons in “The Music Man,” playing the role of the infamous Professor Howard Hill. Our grandson, a junior at Jesuit High School, was fabulous, and so was the production! You can see from the above picture how professional it was.
From the onset of the play, the audience instantly recognizes Professor Hill as a Con-man who gains the trust of a small town in order to sell them a bill of goods (in this case, band instruments) and make money for himself. Of course, in the end, he changes his tune, so to speak. The very successful Broadway play was the fantasy of American composer, Meredith Wilson.
But in real life, con-men, or women, are not fantasy. There are many, and they are real.
Can you recognize a Con-man? (i.e. a Confidence man, or woman)
He or she is a practitioner of confidence tricks–an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence, used in the classical sense of trust. He/she makes himself a false shepherd that people will follow. And next, he or she exploits the characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty, honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility, naïveté and greed.
If we practice awareness, we’re able to see con-men all around us. We deal with them everyday in our government, in business, and perhaps even in our own families.
They stir up trouble and create distractions so that their selfish ways can be accomplished.
A fanciful Con-man (or Con-woman) is great fodder for a play or musical. But a real Con-man is dangerous. This so-called shepherd of the people, does not genuinely work for, or care, for his sheep. He works only for himself and leads people astray to accomplish his personal ends.
Today, more than ever, we need good shepherds to lead our government, our businesses, our families. And I pray that we find the persons to do that–and that they will mirror our ultimate Good Shepherd, whose grace is always present, and available to everyone–even to the worst of Con-men.
I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.– Jn 10:11-18