22nd September

With reference to last Sunday’s train ride from Gatwick airport to Hythe, I happened to goodshepherdglance at the screen of the smart phone of my travelling companion. The message on the screen said: I AM ENOUGH. It reminded me of an article I read sometime on the subject. We spend much of our time making fruitless – and indeed harmful – comparisons to others, their particular gifts and assets. This attitude of I AM ENOUGH states that I am adequate as I am. I have the gifts that God’s providence has allocated to me. I have enough assets to ensure that I require for life’s necessities: I don’t need my neighbour’s new car or bigger house or more extravagant holidays or classier looks or more successful children or type of employment or holier appearances. I don’t need all the things that come in an advertising barrage through the mass-media. I am OK as I am. To yearn after other’s assets breeds a negative sense of dissatisfaction with life. Furthermore it violates the 9th and 10th Commandments: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours goods/wife.

One of the memorable homilies I heard once was that God gives us all a hand of cards to play in life. All he expects us to do is to play that hand of cards to the best of our abilities. If he gave us an odd assortment of low value cards, then we play that to the best of our ability. He doesn’t expect us to play as if we had been given a royal flush or four aces. If he gave us a special needs child or some other needy relative that absorbs all our time, then all he expects us do is to care for them to the best of our ability. If we have some type of physical or mental handicap, then all he expects us to do is to make the best of our lot – with his grace. This homily was delivered by a priest who was confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life as the result of an accident.

This is all the more relevant for us Christians, because we have the greatest treasure imaginable in having Jesus as our Good Shepherd. Thus we can truly say I AM ENOUGH! with this pearl of great price. Consider prayerfully the following Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd; *
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures *
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me, *
to revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path; *
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness *
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff; *
with these you give me comfort.

You have prepared a banquet for me *
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil; *
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me *
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell *
for ever and ever.