'The Lord God says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep. so l will keep my sheep in view. ..
I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest - it is the Lord who speaks
I shall look for me lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong.
I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.'
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.
He guides me along the right path;
He is true to his name
lf should walk in the valley of darkness
No evil would I fear.
You are there with your rod and your staff;
With these you bring me comfort.
You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
My cup is overflowing
I wonder did you watch the programmes on BBC1 earlier in the year called 'Lambing Live' when, for several days the cameras visited Adam Henson's farm in the Cotswolds as lambing took place? There was a lot of emotion; elation at safe births. sadness at the contrary, and throughout all, the quiet relentless care of sheep and lambs at all times of the day and night. lt was hard work and certainly increased my admiration for the life of a modern day shepherd.
This year the readings for the Feast of the Sacred Heart use that imagery of shepherd and sheep through beautiful readings from the Old and New Testaments. which celebrate the tenderness, compassion and care of Gods Heart for us, the often wayward sheep. The gospel in particular has Jesus drawing on the image of the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to go in search of the one that has strayed (Luke I5:3-7)
Why not take some time to read and reflect on the readings. and also the photos, and open yourself to the wonderful truth of God's tenderness, compassion and care for each one of us?
Many thanks to Steph Romaine RSCJ for photos of Llannerchwen sheep and lambs