Years ago the great actor Richard Burton was given a grand reception in his childhood parish. While replying to the complimentary speeches in the parish auditorium he asked if there was anything, they specially wanted to hear from him. After a minute’s pause his old pastor asked him if he could recite the Good Shepherd Psalm (Psalm 23), which he had taught Burton in his Sunday school.
A strange look came over the actor’s face. He paused for a moment, and then said, “I will, on one condition—that after I have recited it, you, my pastor and teacher will do the same.”
“I,” said the old, retired pastor, “am not an actor, but, if you wish it, I shall do so.”
Impressively the actor began the Psalm. His voice and intonation were perfect. He held his audience spellbound, and, as he finished, a great burst of applause broke from the audience.
As it died away, the old pastor rose from his wheelchair and began to recite the same Psalm. His voice was feeble and shivering and his tone was not faultless. But, when he finished, there was not a dry eye in the room.
The actor rose and his voice quivered as he said, ‘”Ladies and gentlemen, I reached your eyes and ears, but my old pastor has reached your hearts. The difference is just this: I know the Psalm, but he knows the Shepherd.”
This Good Shepherd Sunday, Jesus wants us to know him by experiencing him and to become good shepherds to those entrusted to our care.
Father Joseph Dovari