Yesterday morning, I was reading, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” and I was puzzling over how I might use it in a homily, when a friend called with a story about the Psalm.
Do you know about Father Greg Boyle? For forty years he has been working with Los Angeles street gangs; and he has four hundred former gang members working in his “Homeboys Industries.”
My friend’s story was about Father Boyle saying Mass for a street gang. At the Responsorial Psalm he slipped on the response, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.’” What he actually came out with was, “”The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want;” and five times the street gang thundered it back at him that way.
Their Homeboys Industries operates their own Restaurants, Housecleaning crews, and Gardening teams. Their most successful enterprises are three clinics for tattoo removals. They started on them after an ex-con complained to Father Boyle that no one wanting to hire him. Father Boyle suggested that possible employers might be put off by the “F*** You” tattoo across the boy’s forehead.
Father Boyle’s Homeboys have a slogan that Mother Teresa gave them. It is “We are all kin.” With the Lord as our shepherd, we are one flock.