Today we are asked to think about shepherds and about sheep…
Reflections on the readings for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 18, 2021): 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.
At some time all of us have felt that heart-wrenching feeling for the concerns of another person that outweigh our own needs.
Last Sunday we heard in the Gospel how Jesus sent His Apostles out on their first mission to preach and heal in His name. Today, He welcomes them back. And He immediately tells them to come away to rest awhile. He wants them to be refreshed and to share with Him all that happened to them and those they met. But it was not to be. Christ and the Twelve took a boat to what they believed would be a deserted place. Except that is wasn’t. They were greeted there by a great number of people who must have figured out where they were going and gotten there first. Some of these may have listened to Jesus preach before, others may have come with the Apostles, eager to learn more about the Master they had spoken about. “They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before 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 6:33-34).
Jesus’ compassion overcame any plans He had for a little rest and relaxation, even some private time for Himself and the Apostles. At some time all of us have felt that heart-wrenching feeling for the concerns of another person that outweigh our own needs. Surely the heart of Jesus, both human and divine, was moved for these men, women, and children. They had come so far in order to find someone in whom they could entrust their hearts and souls. They had taken a risk that Jesus would not let them down, that He would share with them a message of mercy. They were not afraid to appear desperate or foolish. And He responded with love. Because He knew who they really were – His beloved children. And, although they did not know it yet, He would do anything for them. Just like a shepherd who would lay down His life for His sheep.
Suggested missionary action: Let us entrust ourselves to the Good Shepherd and seek His mercy for ourselves and our loved ones and for all our brothers and sisters.