July 22, 2018 — Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time
JER 23: 1-6; PS 23: 1-6; EPH 2: 13-18; MK 6: 30-34
Most are familiar with the scriptural quote from Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd. There is nothing I shall want.” This passage serves as the Responsorial Psalm on this 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time because it supports the other readings with two key ideas: that we must place our trust in the Lord, and that we inherit life from our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
At the time St. Paul was writing his Letter to the Ephesians (our Second Reading), Paul was under house arrest in Rome and awaiting trial. He was allegedly accused by the Jews of taking a Gentile into a temple. Therefore, part of Paul’s statement, “For he (Christ) 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,” is saying essentially the Lordship of Jesus is greater then any difference you may feel you have with others — that Jesus is our Savior and our Shepherd.
In the Gospel Reading from Mark, the idea of shepherding lies at the heart. “When he (Jesus) 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.” In other words, He began to feed them with the Word of God. That is what we do during this part of our Mass; we hear Holy Scripture. These are the Words of the Lord. He is our shepherd. We are His sheep.
As always, Jesus teaches us a valuable lesson about stewardship through today’s readings. To the Lord, the needs of others were more important than His own. When we share our time, our talents, and our treasure, we are not only following our Good Shepherd, we are also living His Gospel call to shepherd others by giving of ourselves.