Psalm 23 in depth

From the Desk of Father David

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

           Today being Good Shepherd Sunday, I would like us to delve deeper into Psalm 23. Through this Psalm you can experience Jesus as He teaches you, comforts you and calls you to His side.  This Psalm will open a whole new world for you as you open yourself up to God.  Begin by asking the Holy Spirit to assist you by experiencing the Good Shepherd as you pray the psalm.  As you read the psalm, pause after each verse and let the words sink deeply into you.  At anytime during your prayer feel free to talk to the Lord about what you are thinking or feeling

Psalm 23 New American Bible

 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. 

In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.

Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.

You set a table before me as my enemies watch; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.

Psalm 23 New Jerusalem Bible

A Psalm of David. Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

In grassy meadows he lets me lie. By tranquil streams he leads me to restore my spirit. He guides me in paths of saving justice as befits his name.

Even were I to walk in a ravine as dark as death I should fear no danger, for you are at my side. Your staff and your crook are there to soothe me.

You prepare a table for me under the eyes of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup brims over.

Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life. I make my home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come.

Psalm 23 is about your personal relationship with God; now pray the psalm aloud emphasizing the underlined words as a way of hearing Jesus speaking directly to you.

             Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is intensely personal, tender, and loving toward each of us.  Reflect upon each duty of a shepherd and search through your life for times when Jesus was shepherding you, don’t give up if you cannot think of something immediately.  A shepherds duties are: 1) seeking the lost or straying sheep – when did Jesus help you see a situation differently or called you back from your fears or worries?  2) feeding the sheep – how does Jesus feed you spiritually or physically? 3) guiding the flock – when has Jesus led you in the right direction or assisted you during a difficult situation?  4) tending the sheep – How did Jesus heal you physically, emotionally, or spiritually? 5) Protecting the sheep – can you recall a time when Jesus protected you. 6) loving their flock – Remember the times when Jesus blest you. 

Our role as good sheep are: 1) quieting your thoughts so we can better hear His voice, 2) staying open to the present moment so you can experience Him, 3) having heart to heart talks with Him, 4) acknowledging your sins and knowing Jesus is patient and forgiving, 5) letting go of past hurts by forgiving others and yourself, and 6) trusting that Jesus is leading you in the right direction.

Dear Jesus, help me to hear your voice calling me to rest in Your loving embrace, heal my tired soul, cast out my fears and worries and grant me and my love ones all that we need.  Amen

Sources used are: The Lord is My Shepherd by Robert J. Morgan, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller and a DVD called Reflections on Psalm 23 for People with Cancer by Ken Curtis

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