Is the Lord my shepherd?

Is the Lord my shepherd?

“The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing shall want.” This is a favorite quotation from Psalm 23 which is an Old Testament allusion to Christ who has become our Shepherd and Savior.

This imagery also indicates the intimate and close relationship among the members of the flock, the Church. It strongly suggests that faith is lived in the context of community. Redemption is realized through the common efforts of the community which listens and recognizes the voice of the Shepherd. To paraphrase the gospels, we have to shepherd one another as Christ shepherds us. The world will know we are Christians by how we shepherd one another.

The image of the Lord as the Shepherd and us as the sheep is a very apt description of our human condition and our need for our Redeemer. No other class of livestock requires more careful handling and more detailed direction. Sheep gnaw the grass to the very ground until even the roots are damaged. The secret is to keep them on the move. There must be a predetermined plan of action — a deliberate, planned rotation from one grazing ground to another in line with right and sound principles of management. This is the critical role of the shepherd. Here is the critical role of a God-inspired pastoral plan so that we don’t remain content with maintenance ministry. We have to be a community on the move. Where do we as a parish want to be in five years? How do we as a community faces the challenges of the future.

We, human beings, need the help and support of the Good Shepherd to redeem us from our almost hopeless human situation. We need to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd through the Church whose leadership is a shared one in which all members of the community are all responsible for moving forward in a way that is committed to service and relationships.

As we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday, let us reflect on the words of St Gregory the Great: “Ask yourself whether you belong to Jesus’ flock, whether you know him, whether the light of his truth shines in your mind. I assure you that it is not by faith that you will come to know him, but by love; not by mere conviction, but by action…”