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Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

There are shepherds in our lives who may have gone to God decades ago but live in our DNA so deeply that, without our realizing it, are still touching us many times a day. I’m sure dear Miss McMurria, my kindergarten teacher, would be shocked to know that a photo of our play (I was a stalk of corn) rotates with hundreds of other photographs on my computer screen. My life flashes before me every two to three days, and there she is, young and beautiful, smiling at the camera. That was 68 years ago. That was yesterday.

When I stand in front of a classroom of adult students, I bless my high school speech teacher, who taught me how to quiet my nerves and project to the end of the room. And I never teach a word of scripture without channeling my own scripture teachers. They are with me in every word.

And yes, there have been some terrible shepherds, too. Every math teacher I ever had made me cry, and I realize now how I must have made them cry, too, when they saw me walk into the room. I’ve heard a few terrible homilies. I’ve listened to many stunningly beautiful ones.

What kind of shepherd are you? Are you the friend who glibly promises to pray for a friend’s teenager but never does? The parent who checks your phone hundreds of times daily but checks in with your kids far less? The aging parent who tells your aching adult child that you refuse to revisit the past? Or are you that strong, wonderful shepherd whose sheep feel utterly safe and loved?

Each of us is shepherding someone. How will you be remembered?

Who is a particularly great shepherd in your life?

Kathy McGovern ©2024

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“To praise, to bless, to preach” – Dominican Motto