Summary: This is NOT the voice of the Shepherd, "I told you so," "You're just like your mother!" "Can't you do anything right?"
Our Responsorial Psalm today from Psalm 23 is very personal. There are no references to "we" or "us" or "they," but only "my" and "me" and "I" and "You." This is David's testimony, his personal experience with God.
“He guides me in right paths,” the second part says.
In our Gospel we hear that the shepherd opens the gate for the sheep. Gate is a metaphor for leader, guide. “He guides me in right paths” which tells us that God’s guidance also moral. Indeed, by BEING the gate, the Shepard makes possible a free coming and going between sheepfold and pasture. The thief seizes resources and destroys life, but the shepherd offers freedom and bestows life.
However, some sheep would reject the gate. John 6:66- says "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more."
Yet, the Good Shepherd still invites them back. Revelation 3:20, says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Burt Kettinger tells about a small church in Rocky River, Ohio, just west of Cleveland where he grew up. This church had a small restroom behind the pulpit with a door right behind the pulpit for the convenience of the pastor. There was also a door on the other side of the restroom that led out to the church parking lot.
One day the pastor was waxing eloquent on Rev. 3:20. With great gusto he exclaimed that the Lord is standing at the door of our hearts crying, “Let Me in. Let Me in!”
Adding a touch of drama to his message the pastor walked back to the restroom door behind the pulpit. He knocked on it and again reminded the congregation that God was at our heart’s door crying, , “Let Me in. Let Me in!” when suddenly back from behind the closed door came the lamenting cry, “Just a minute. Just a minute.”
2). “The Lord is MY shepherd.”
Sheep can recognize as many as 50 other sheep for up to two years and they can recognize their shepherd's face and voice. The sheep “hear his voice,” our Gospel today says. The Shepherd leads the sheep down tracks that they will naturally follow, which have no doubt been established by previous generations of sheep and shepherds. Even though we live with family members, and may have established ways of expressing anger or frustration for generations, we have to follow the model of the Good Shepherd and speak words that edify and uplift.
This is NOT the voice of the Shepherd, "I told you so," "You're just like your mother!" "Can't you do anything right?"
3). “In verdant pastures he gives me repose.”
How can stay in solitude and prayer when we feel that deep urge to be distracted by people and events? By repeating quietly, "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."
The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush. He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals. He provides me with images of stillness, which restores my serenity.
4). "You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes.”
When God says he's catering, the dinner won't be just any ordinary meal. And there is only one guest at this meal – you, while those in opposition to God’s ways are on the outer fringe of the scene and watch everything unfold.