The cranked-up bass matched the thumping in my head. Two strangers too-comfortably flanked me as my friends passed red solo cups between them across the room. The haze of cigarette smoke and guilt settled within me. It was the last party I attended before I left for my freshman year of college, and I knew everything was about to change.
For the better part of the past two years, my heart had been divided against itself into "two kingdoms." Part of my heart dwelt with the Lord—I was His people and He was my God. The other part of my heart was defiled with idols, abominations, and transgressions (see Ezekiel 37:22, 23, 27). The division was destroying me, and I decided to "cast away all the crimes you have committed" (see verse before the Gospel). I was about to depart for a new life in a far-away town at a tiny Catholic college.
I was journeying toward the Promised Land, but it would require my feet to move.
That night, amidst layered regret and exhaustion, I resolved to live differently.
But it was really the Good Shepherd Who was gathering my dispersed heart. When I finally put myself under the rule of Jesus Christ rather than the rule of the world, I experienced the peace, joy, and gladness today’s readings promise.
Now, these many years later, my heart still threatens the occasional civil war. But I know what kind of King and Shepherd Jesus is. He ransoms and redeems. And just as He gathered the scattered nation of Israel, He gathers every single corner of our scattered hearts.
This striking statute of Jesus as the Good Shepherd gives us a real sense of Him scooping us up.
Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky where the sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She is the Blog Manager for Blessed is She and shares weekly tips for prayer and Catholic living. She likes to binge novels and Netflix while raising her children and laughing with her husband. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book called Rise Up. You can find out more about her here.