We have David’s great 23rd Psalm for our responsorial psalm today. We take it that as a boy David composed this psalm out on the hills as he watched his family’s sheep feeding. The Book of Samuel tells us that he carried a simple stringed instrument, a lyre, on which he plucked melodies to fit his prayerful thoughts.
There was a very tight relationship between David and his sheep. His was the only voice that they recognized and followed. As a boy in Ireland Monsignor Logan out at the Beach had kept sheep, driving them with a long stick like the one bishops use, and he had doubts about that Good Shepherd passage in John’s Gospel. Dan didn’t believe that a shepherd could really train the sheep to follow his one voice, but on a trip to the Holy Land he found it to be true.
David’s sheep depended so completely on his leading them that when one of them discovered that it had strayed out of his sight, he or she, lacking any independence of spirit, would just crouch and tremble.
What David was saying in the 23rd Psalm that his dependence on the Lord was as complete as the dependence of his sheep was on him.
The temple had not as yet been built in David’s time. His son Solomon would build Jerusalem’s first temple. So, when David sang, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord all my days,” he was enthusing over being a member of the Lord’s household. It is the same with us: our allegiance is not to any church building. We look forward to living out our days in the Lord’s church where we have met so much goodness and kindness all our days.