Sunday Reflection: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
1st Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6
2nd Reading: Ephesians 2:13-18
Gospel: Mark 6:30-34
Our society has been into much pain and suffering these past years. Many have lost hope for a better tomorrow and for a more just society. Even in the Church, there is this sense of loss for a brighter future because of almost the same reasons. It seems that life has never been better for those who have lost the sense of the divine in daily life.
Our readings this Sunday invite us to stop for a while and assess the situation in the perspective of faith. Many of us want to solve the problem by purely human means that God is taken out of the picture because it seems to be that God is irrelevant and is not worth taking into consideration, either because He does not exist or He does not care anyway. On the other hand, there are those who are emphasize so much their trust in divine providence that they would not anymore work, but just wait for whatever God would provide. These two are seeming opposites that needs to be considered.
Our Christian faith teaches us that we have to join these two attitudes, we have to balance them. We have to do our best in making this world progress according to its capacity and need while relying on the providence of God who made all these things around us for us. Our faith is our guide towards the fulfillment of our vocation. God makes us fruitful according to our capacity and He also allows us to take time to rest ourselves. The Sabbath Rest, is a time of renewal and reconnection for us with the Divine Caller. He established this rest to enable us to grow more through our experiences I the field. We cannot just work and work, that sometime or should I say often times make us unaware of the real need of those we minister to and this also make us unaware of our own journey as a person.
God, being the Good Shepherd, has warned us of our subtle way of replacing His plan with ours. We sometimes lead people away from encountering God because we want them to focus on our works than to focus on the works of God. We usurp God’s place in the hearts of His people. The Prophet Jeremiah calls our attention to this reality and God’s plan through Christ and His Church, that He will appoint shepherds who will take care of His sheep according to His will. We have to be careful of our ways. Parents, teachers, priests, employers, and any person in authority are called to be shepherds in their own way. This is why, we are all called to take time to rest and assess every situation. We have to stop at times, to rest and ponder over the things we are entrusted to do. Shepherding is never an easy task, this is why Jesus invites us to take this sabbath rest or time of encounter, meditation, contemplation. He Himself after the day’s work would go to a lonely or deserted place to pray and have encounter with the Father. He was always in focus because He spent time with God. This is what we need in our time to be able to put things back in tract.
We can never help people, our families, and our society to help move on to the next phase of life unless we ourselves show them that there is more than the pains and sufferings that surround us. There is God who loves and shepherds them through our lowly ministry. We have to lead them to encounter God in their pains and sufferings. We have to see beyond their pains and sufferings their need for the love and mercy of the Father. Jesus showed us this love and mercy when He did not give up on people, He always saw their need as a way towards encountering the Father. He is the Shepherd needed by the people.