Guided by the shepherd
“And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
The Gospel today describes Jesus' ministry, teaching in synagogues, proclaiming the good news, curing disease and illness. Jesus is “moved with pity” for the crowds, “because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
How do you think Jesus sees the “crowds” of today? Poverty, displacement, war, secularisation, family separation and individualism in modern society have left so many people abandoned, truly sheep without a shepherd. Perhaps you yourself feel troubled, alone, isolated, directionless.
The good news is that we have a shepherd in Jesus Christ. Through the mystery of the Incarnation God became human: infinity was rooted in time and place in the person of Jesus Christ. And in His perfect humility, Jesus came to be with us in the messiness of our world to be our shepherd. To care for us; to lead us and to guide us. But God does not impose his guidance on us. In this beautiful verse from Isaiah we see the nature of God's gentle direction. God allows us to walk, to turn in any direction in perfect freedom. As we walk through life, the Lord walks behind us as a shepherd leading his sheep to their fold for the evening, gently gathering the stragglers and protecting from wild animals who might otherwise be unnoticed. He is always with us, and as we explore if we open our ears to listen we will hear God's gentle but clear affirmation “this is the way, walk in it”. We are not compelled. We are free to follow or not. He calls us as we are – broken, lonely and lost, and He knows us and calls us His beloved.
A meditation written by Natalie Dennehy, a parishioner at St Augustine's, Hammersmith
Follow the Order of Saint Augustine (O.S.A.), Province of England and Scotland
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6