The Lord is My Shepherd
You’ve heard the famous story about the dinner party attended by both Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Actor Richard Burton. The host, at the end of the meal, drew attention to both guests, observing that both were distinguished public speakers. He then asked if both would read Psalm 23, “The Lord Is My Shepherd.” Richard Burton did so with the precision, cadence and drama one would expect from a Shakespearean actor, and the guests applauded vigorously. Fulton Sheen then read the psalm with obvious devotion, meaning, and depth, and the guests remained in reverential silence. The host commented, “The actor knew the psalm, the preacher knew the Shepherd.”
Knowing the Shepherd… Encountering the Lord… Living in Christ… This is what our faith life is all rooted in. This is why we come to church, that is, helping each other discover who God calls us to be. Our close and personal relationship with the Good Shepherd is what really matters in our spiritual life. Our faith life flows from this personal relatedness to our Savior.
In today’s gospel, we hear Jesus telling us: “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full…” Yes, it is only by following our Good Shepherd that we will be safe and find the pasture we need. Only Christ can we satisfy the hunger for food, freedom, justice, love, peace, truth and understanding. If we resolutely choose to follow him – both in our private lives and in our public lives – we will be able to sing with the Psalmist: “The Lord is my Shepherd. There is nothing I shall want. In verdant pastures, He gives me repose. Beside restful waters, he leads me. He refreshes my soul. He guides me in right paths for His name’s sake. Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.” (Ps 23:1-3, 6)