The Good Shepherd
The Gospel at the 11 o’clock Mass is the Good Shepherd, and all I want to emphasize is that the good shepherd in the Middle East goes in front of the sheep and they follow because they trust him. No force, no fierce dogs nipping at their heels; only a well-known voice urging them on to the safety of the fold.
I see we will be singing “The Lord’s my shepherd” to Crimond, which I love. So that will lead me into the so-called “Cry of Dereliction” on the Cross, which I believe was no such thing. It is the first words of Psalm 22, and I am sure Jesus was enduring his agony, as we might, by reciting the psalms (He was overheard later saying “Into thy hands I commend my spirit”, also from the psalms). And it was a revelation to me when I realized that after Psalm 22 comes Psalm 23! So I can hear Our Lord on the Cross also saying “The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing” – no dereliction, but total trust, even in the worst of situations.
The last verse of Psalm 23 says: “But thy loving kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: ” (Yes even this day, this Good Friday) “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever”. Surely that’s when he turned to the penitent thief and said: Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise”.
We may be silly sheep, but we have a shepherd we can trust, who will pick us up when we fall and carry us home. Alleluia!