16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B – 2009 Jeremiah 23:1-6
Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the Lord. Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: “The Lord our justice.”
Brothers and sisters: In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. 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.
This Sunday we continue to hear about teachers in the Church. This is God’s on inspired Word reminding us that not everyone who teaches is a prophet, not everyone who teaches draws us to God. When a teach is trying to gain disciples to his own way of thinking, we must beware of his teachings. When a teacher is pointing us clearly to Christ and to His Church, then we can trust in his words.
Many of us who preach have had this experience of proclaiming God’s word and of realizing that people have not heard God’s word before. God’s people want to hear about prayer, and love and about forgiveness. God’s people want to hear God’s love for them and also how God’s love for them invites them to love others.
The challenge for any of us who are called to minister in the Church is to remain faithful to Jesus and faithful to the Church. Today in our modern world, we have hundreds and hundreds of different types of groups who all claim to be followers of Jesus and who claim to have the truth and who claim that others have gone away from the truth.
The first reading today, from the Prophet Jeremiah, tells us about shepherds who claim to be leading God’s people and yet who scatter them. There is also here a messianic prophecy: a promise from God that He, our God, will raise up someone from the house of David, who will be a true king and who will lead us and show us that our God is justice.
The Gospel today, from Mark, teaches us that we can hear more clearly if we are away from the crowds and the noise. Today so many people cry out to us that they have the truth. To hear the truth, we will do better if we go apart from others and can be silent and still.
The second reading, from the Letter to the Ephesians, teaches us that God’s message brings about peace and reconciliation. It is not always clear what this peace and reconciliation mean in our daily lives but it is clear that believing in the Lord Jesus calls us to be people of peace and reconciliation, even as we insist on living in the truth and following the teachings of the Church.
May this Sunday draw all of us deeper into the mysteries of Christ’s kingdom, with an awareness of peace and reconciliation and an awareness that we must be faithful to our Lord Jesus and His Church. May we seek truth and follow it.