The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where He leads me beside restful waters; He stills my soul.
It’s a beautiful Psalm; it’s probably our favorite Psalm. Today as we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday, I would like to focus on one word of the Psalm. The phrase is: He leads me.
In Hebrew, oftentimes, words have numerous meanings, and the [phrase] leads me to those green pastures to the still waters has three meanings at least. One is that He does lead us to those waters, but the second is that He feeds us, and the third is He holds us. All three of those words and ideas of the words are what’s intended by that word: lead. So, He leads us, feeds us, and holds us. That’s what I’d like to focus on in this homily on this Good Shepherd Sunday: how God leads, feeds, and holds us.
I thought it would be nice to have a sheep to bring today. Do we have sheep? I don’t hear it yet. There it is. (A parishioner brings in a baby sheep) So, the first is that He leads us, and sometimes we don’t want to follow where He goes. The second is that He feeds us. (She’s still nursing, actually. This one was born on Holy Thursday). The third is that He holds us.
As we come here together to celebrate this Eucharist, Pope Francis said, “Smell like a sheep,” so here we go.
As we come here to celebrate this Good Shepherd Sunday, I would like you to consider those three things. What would you like God to do for you? How do you need to be led right now in your life?
He does lead us, and we come to Mass Sunday after Sunday because we tend to go astray if we don’t continue to come back to the Good Shepherd and let Him lead us and then feed us. Jesus wants to feed us here. He wants to nourish us in this Eucharist.
Many people will say to me as a priest whenever I’m out, “Why do we have to go to Mass? I don’t want to go to Mass.” God gives us this command because He knows that we need it. He knows that we need to be nourished and come to Mass. Then sometimes people will say to me, “Well, Father, I’m not fed when I go,” and I think you hear the word of God. You receive His very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. How are we not fed when we come to Mass? He feeds us every Sunday when we come to receive the sacraments.
Finally, He holds us. He wants to hold us close to Him and bring our souls to peace. There’s nothing like being held and holding. That really makes you feel so good and so peaceful. The Lord wants us every Sunday to have this repose, to take us to this church, this place of stillness, of verdant pastures so that He can hold us, restore us, and bring us closer to His heart.
So, this Good Shepherd Sunday, we give thanks that the Lord is our Shepherd. We give thanks that He leads us constantly if we let Him. We give thanks that He allows us to draw close to Him as He feeds and nourishes us and, finally, that He holds us.
I invite you to do whatever you desire from God during this Mass just ask Him that. That He may lead you, feed you, and hold you.