Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. Often this is associated with saccharine piety and imagines of a feminine Jesus holding a baby lamb. However the readings of the day are filled with powerful imagery!
In conjunction with the readings, I went to confession with a great African priest. He reminded me that the Fathers of the Church used to say before they went to pray that they are going into "battle". It was a great reminder of spiritual warfare for me, and the readings reminded me that no matter how weighed down and disappointed I feel in my sins - that Christ has already won the battle for me. He is the Good Sheperd who laid down his life for me and is now the Guardian of my soul.
Even more powerful is the part of the psalm where it says "you have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes". This can be interpreted as the Eucharist, the great Sacrificial Paschal banquet established by Christ as a reminder of his victory over death, that I am now one of his redeemed who is called treat with him and share in His Divine Life.
Reading 2 1Peter 2:20-251 PT 2:20B-25Beloved:
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.
When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.