Saturday, February 9, 2019

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rgular shepherd

Today, in Mercy,  our readings refer to Christ’s infinite compassion by using the image of a shepherd.

It is an image that, while not completely lost on us, is removed from our daily experience. Within the image, though, are elements which transcend time and culture. These elements become clear as we pray with our Responsorial Psalm 23:

Just as Jesus looked at the crowd with pity – (pietàs – a devoted, compassionate love), so he looks on us. It is love like that conveyed in Michaelangelo’s Pietà, where Mary looks on Jesus with a love we cannot imagine.

rome pieta

Psalm 23
(Jesus sees that we need rest from the things that harass our spirits.)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

(Jesus sees that we need guidance in our complex and morally bereft world.)
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

(Jesus sees that we are hungry for deeply spiritual nourishment.)
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

(Jesus sees that we need to be assured that we are deeply loved and protected.)
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all wthe days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want

What assurance, what pietàs, do we most need from God today?
Perhaps these modern images of Pietà will help us with our prayer.

pieta modern
Modern Pietà – Michael Belk
standing piets
Christ Holds the Beloved – Thomas Blackshear

Music: Piè Jesu – Andrew Lloyd Webber
sung here by Lea Salonga & Daniel Rodriguez
(note English translation in lower right)

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