SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
The first reading and the Gospel are one of contrast. In the first reading, the shepherds are condemned for their lack of care for their people. In the Gospel, Jesus shows himself to be a very caring Shepherd. The second reading speaks about Jesus’ reconciling work.
FIRST READING: Jeremiah 23:1-6
This reading begins with a strong condemnation of the shepherds (read Kings) who have not cared for God’s people. Not only have they not cared, they have also led them astray. The strong word of condemnation is followed by a promise of a new Shepherd who will show true concern for the people.
SECOND READING: Ephesians 2:13-18
This reading describes the unifying effect of Christ’s blood. The Gentiles “who once were far off have become near” (2:13). Lacking the covenant and therefore access to salvation, the Gentiles were without hope prior to Christ’s sacrifice (2:11-12). But through the blood of Christ, both Jew and Gentile are made one (2:15). The walls that had separated them—the commandments and legal claims—are abolished, so that now both have access to God.
GOSPEL: Mark 6:30-34
This Gospel is one of contrast to the first reading. Here we are given the image of a Shepherd who truly cares for his people. First, he shows concern for his first-time missionaries who return exhausted. He tries to bring them away to a restful place where they can be renewed in spirit. Secondly, Jesus shows himself to be the Good Shepherd to the crowds by feeding them with his Word. Our second reading is a beautiful statement on God’s reconciling work in Jesus. Have you ever reconciled with someone you had a long-standing rift with? If so, what helped to bring about the reconciliation?
What refreshes you when you are exhausted? Where is your “out-of-the-way” place?