Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
November 3, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we meet the Shepherd bringing the lost lamb home. Haven’t we all, at sometime in our lives, been carried on those sacred shoulders?
Whether by our own prayers, or the prayers of those who love us, have we not been rescued from sorrow, foolishness, isolation or fear?
This beautiful Gospel assures us of the one thing we most deeply need – we are cherished, irrevocably, by God.
Today, if we need to ride those shoulders, let us trust ourselves to them in prayer.
If, by grace, we are already home, let us pray for those feeling most lost or abandoned – those most beset by a hostile world. May our merciful action help lift them to peace and the sweet scent of God so close beside them.
Poetry: The Good Shepherd – Brian Yapko
I enjoyed this poem which imagines Jesus still as a youngster experiencing a night as a shepherd. Mary and Joseph think it might not be the right vocation for him after his traumatic overnight!
My count of sheep was off as twilight fell
And father’s friend, Ben Ezra’s lamb was gone!
I had to find her! Searching past the well
I climbed the rocks exhausted but pressed on.
Delay could mean her life! She’d failed to heed
My shepherd’s call and so risked being killed!
Some wild beast might capture her and feed.
I could not let her unstained blood be spilled!
Great danger filled that dark and craggy hill.
My fear was deep! And then my torch went dim!
Oh, why did I avoid my father’s will
To one day be a carpenter like him?
Because my father’s friend was gravely ill.
I loved his sheep, so father made a plan
For me to herd them just one year until
I’m old enough to be declared a man.
I found the frightened lamb inside a cave
Cornered by a wolf of knife-sharp claw.
The fiercest wolf I’ve seen! How could I save
This little sheep? I thrust my staff to draw
Away the beast. He snarled, bit my wrist
And mauled my side. In agony, I heard
The wolf’s attack, too wounded to resist.
But then, thank God, a miracle occurred!
I closed my eyes and with a trembling voice
Said “Help me, father!” And the fierce wolf froze!
He yelped, then fled as if he had no choice!
I clutched the lamb and wept till the sun rose.
Still shaking I then rose up on my feet.
I kissed the lamb and said don’t be afraid
For now you’re safe. She cried a grateful bleat.
She knew I’d saved her and the price I paid.
My parents say I may no longer herd
And must devote my life to nails and wood;
But angels fill my dreams and leave me stirred
To try to be a shepherd—one who’s good—
Who shields his sheep from wickedness and strife.
I love them all, the good ones and the lost;
I’ll fear no evil that might take my life,
For I think their salvation’s worth the cost.
Music: I Will Carry You – Sean Clive
I will carry you when you are weak.
I will carry you when you can’t speak.
I will carry you when you can’t pray.
I will carry you each night and day.
I will carry you when times are hard.
I will carry you both near & far.
I’ll be there with you whenever you fall.
I will carry you through it all.
My arms are wider than the sky,
softer than a little child,
stronger than the raging,
calming like a gentle breeze.
Trust in me to hold on tight because
I will carry you when you can’t stand.
I’ll be there for you to hold your hand.
And I will show you that you’re never alone.
I will carry you and bring you back home.
Not pain, not fear, not death, no nothing at all
can separate you from my love.
My arms and hands will hold you close.
Just reach out and take them in your own.
Trust in me to hold on tight.
I will carry you.