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.
God calls each one of us. Each of us can be a shepherd and we are also all His sheep. Following our Lord Jesus is to walk in His way and that way is always the way of the cross.
The Prophet Jeremiah recognized that even people who claim to serve the Lord can be false shepherds. This does not mean that we have to become suspicious of everyone in our lives. It does mean that each of us must come to know the Lord so that we are able to recognize Him and to recognize that which is false. To know the Lord Jesus is also to know His Church.
The Gospel tells us about the apostles, who are returning from missions. Jesus tells them of the need to go apart and pray. Although this does not happen in the account given today, we should recognize that it is important for each one of us, in order to be faithful to the Lord, to find time to go apart and pray. It should also be clear from the Gospel that when people come to us who are in need of our ministry, that ministry takes precedence over our private prayer.
To follow the Lord Jesus is to be with Him, to know Him well so that we come to understand a bit how He think and how He feels about things. To follow another person does not mean to stop being ourselves. It does mean that all of our life is formed by Him.
The Letter to the Ephesians is a wonderful understanding of God’s work in Christ Jesus. Jesus came and preached peace to us who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. It does not matter if we are still far off or if we are near: Jesus is calling out to us. Jesus preaches to us/ Jesus proclaims the Kingdom of God. Jesus tells us to come to Him because in His Spirit we have access to the Father.
How wonderful is this mystery of God’s love for us. We are invited to share God’s own divine life by walking in the way of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The way is always difficult but it always brings to us everlasting life. The way is difficult, but even in this life it brings joy and gladness.
Let us walk with our Shepherd and know His love for us. Let us learn how to be shepherds even as we obey our Shepherd. Let us come to know that great mystery of Christ Jesus and His Church.