Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 23:1-6, Psalm 23:1-6, Ephesians 2:13-18,
& Mark 6:30-34
When a priest friend was assigned to a new parish, he learned that it was deeply in debt, poorly managed, and low in Mass attendance. As a result, he would simply say, “At least we have Jesus!” Interestingly, this is also what the Scripture readings speak to us about today. That is, when everything could be better, don’t fret because, “at least we have Jesus.”
In the first reading from the prophet Jeremiah, we hear of God’s disappointment in the shepherds of His flock. At that time, in and around Israel, kings were often called “shepherds” because they had a duty to look after their people. As monarchs, they were expected to act on behalf of God toward His people. Unfortunately, only a few kings in Israel were men of faith, and many contrary to what was expected of them, did nothing to help the faith of their people. At the end of the first reading, we hear God promising that He will raise a wise and honest king. Jesus is the One whom the Father sends as the wise and honest shepherd of His people.
In the Gospel narrative of Saint Mark, we see Jesus fulfilling the role of shepherd to the people. Our Lord took pity on them since they were “like sheep without a shepherd,” so He decided to teach them. What then does “sheep without a shepherd” mean? The answer is a simple one. It means that they lacked leadership, and without it, they would wander and go astray. The people who heard Jesus knew He was different, and as a result, they hurried to where He would be. In some respect, we can see similarities between then and now because we, too, have so many distractions that make us wonder and stray from our Good shepherd. However, “at least we have Jesus.”
When we truly have Jesus, we have everything, even if we have nothing else, because, as I mentioned, Jesus IS everything. We are living in a world that has become, in a word—chaotic. With all of the distractions we face, I recommend that we cherish the immortal words of Fr. Ray Fecteau from Our Lady of the Visitation Parish in Darnestown, Maryland, as he reminds us, “At least we have Jesus!”
Question of the Day: Will you follow the Holy Words of Jesus as He shepherds you to everlasting life?
Prayer: “My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.”