Our Shepherd looks after all those who flock to His care
Reflections on the readings for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 22, 2018): JER 23:1-6; PS 23:1-3.3-4,5-6; EPH 2:13-18; MK 6:30-34
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The two Old Testament readings for this Sunday as well as the Gospel refer to the importance of a good shepherd in caring for the welfare of his sheep.
Jeremiah criticizes shepherds who “mislead and scatter the flock” (Jeremiah 23:1), while the beloved 23rd Psalm assures us that with the Lord as our shepherd we will want for nothing. When Jesus sees the people clamoring to hear more from Him, even to the point of rushing to meet the boat He and the Twelve had taken to go off by themselves, He realizes that He cannot abandon them. “When He disembarked and saw the vast crowd, His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34).
Our Lord’s compassion for every one of His children directed all He did. The Son of God came into the world to claim us for Himself. And when we reveal our desire to hear and heed His word, Christ leaves no stone unturned to give us the support and guidance we need to draw closer to Him. God knows that we cannot save ourselves. Only the sacrifice of our Redeemer can open the gates of Heaven for His lost sheep.
Suggested missionary action: Let us take some quiet time to think about our Lord and commit ourselves to doing this regularly. We need to set aside a few minutes each day just to talk with Christ.