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28th Sunday 15 Oct 2017

Some words by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh]
{Reflection only the view of the above}

‘Are you lonesome tonight?This Elvis Presley song is still to be heard. It is a good question and one that can be posed in any age. In my life, I have been blessed beyond anything I deserve, to become a part of families all over the world; I have been blessed in many friendships; every year of my life, I have been surrounded by some marvellous people, some of whom move on and some who remain close. But, alongside this and with no hint of criticism, I can also tell of an inner loneliness that co-exists with these people who have been blessings in life.

‘You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.’ These words of St Augustine, sum up what I am trying to share with you. When we are blessed with people around us and with us, we are spared chasing after substitutes for intimacy and love. Apart from the usual ‘suspects’ – money, sex, possessions -  somewhere in many of us, even in the most fulfilled of people, a search goes on to steady the restlessness deep within us.

‘The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.’ This is the Responsorial Psalm at Mass today - the Word of God. These words are totally true. The Psalmist prays these wonderful words of God in a full and comprehensive statement. Of course, a lot depends on what I really want. If my wants are not of God, then there will be plenty that I’ll go on wanting.

Jesus, is my Shepherd and guide. He goes ahead and promises that He will keep me safe and not let me want for anything. It sounds too good to be true. It is true, but is it true for me and you? I would love it to be true in my life. But, it’s not. Gaps exist as to what I want in life. I search in places other than in the company of Jesus. I’m not proud of this, but I want what God wants for me. When I’m lost, the Good Shepherd looks for me and carries me on His back with joy.

‘Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.’ The Psalmist is a good therapist. ‘Drooping spirit’ can be anything in life from depression to being tired, to being in bad form. It can also be those times when I’m lonely, even in the midst of people. ‘Restful waters’ mentioned by the Psalmist can be anyone or anywhere. There are people in whose company, I feel I’m in a pool of light, kindness and care. They give me a ‘lift’ and then I know that they are sent by the Good Shepherd to look for me and to comfort me when I need it most.

‘He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name’. It is not unusual for me to get lost, even in Paris after many years. My sense of direction leaves a lot to be desired. That is a minor handicap in comparison to losing direction in life. That is when the Good Shepherd comes to me in many and varied guises. The guidance received from another person often comes from a word or a gesture that reverses the wrong direction in life that I am taking. A hug can put new life and new purpose into any struggling life. It is always interesting how Jesus was able to restore people by taking the little girl’s hand, putting a paste on the eyes of a blind person, touching a leper’s infected skin. He is truly the Good Shepherd.

‘You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.’ In recent months, I’ve been at a few wedding banquets. The banquet prepared by Jesus is not only among friends; even in the sight of our foes does He promise to feed and nourish us. The great meal above all others is the Last Supper on the night before Calvary. This continues at our Mass. On the day of our Baptism, our heads were anointed with the oil of Chrism. All the Baptised are God’s Anointed. The more I seek the company of the Good Shepherd, the greater will be my joy. With Jesus, my cup overflows. What a privilege!


Saint Joseph's Catholic Church
50 Avenue Hoche
75008 Paris, France
33(0)1 42 27 28 56

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