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Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


The prophet Jeremiah in the first reading addresses the kings and prophets of Israel who have failed in their role as shepherds of God’s people.  Instead of protecting and guiding, these individuals have “scattered” and “driven” people away.  In the face of their dishonesty, God proclaims, “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock.”  This reading challenges those who abuse the power and authority that is entrusted to them.  Those in power must strive with humility to bring about mercy and justice for all. 

The Gospel begins as the twelve disciples return from their first missionary activity.  Jesus listens to their reports as they share with him all that “they had done and taught.”  He extends an invitation to them to “come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”  He encouraged them to follow his pattern of ministry.  Jesus often stepped away to a deserted place to pray. 

Unfortunately, it seems that both Jesus and the disciples are not granted much peace.  When Jesus “saw the vast crowd” in today’s Gospel, he did not turn from the flock.  Instead, He pours out his compassion toward those he saw as “sheep without a shepherd.”  His response to the needs of the flock establishes for us these priorities, the priorities of the Good Shepherd.  We are called as disciples to serve and care for our neighbors; and to build up all people. 

This week consider two aspects of the life of a disciple:  How do we take time for necessary prayer and renewal, and how do we respond to the people who are entrusted to us or who come to us seeking help and a listening ear? 

Have a blessed week!  Fr. Len

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