1st Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6: I will gather together the remnant of my flock and raise up shepherds for them.
Resp. Ps.23: The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.
2nd Reading: Ephesians.2:13-18: Christ Jesus is the peace between us.
Gospel: Mark 6:30-34: They were like sheep without a shepherd.
“He took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and He set Himself to teach them at some length.-Mark 6:34.
These words describe how Jesus showed compassion on the crowd in today’s gospel. Our Lord had taken the Apostles on retreat to escape from the people, but their attempt to escape from the crowd was a vain one. Although, It is right for us to make time to be alone with God in personal prayer and peace, but we are also called to be as sensitive as Our Lord to the spiritual and material needs of those who unexpectedly come to us for help.
The multitude came with all their concerns and needs-some spiritual seekers, some simply curious. His reaction demonstrates His Divine Mercy- the love and concern of God Almighty for his creatures. By His Incarnation, He shares in our humanity. In His public ministry, He showed compassion by caring; healing the sock and feeding the multitude, and by teaching, He enlightened the people His wisdom can never be measured. His understanding was beyond telling. At His suffering, death and resurrection, He redeemed us, rescues us from the pit of destruction and restores us back to the divine life in the Father.
In Old Testament Times, God is the Shepherd and later on with the establishment of the monarchy the king’s role was also that of a shepherd. Saint Paul recalls how Christ Our Lord died to bring peace to those who were far off and those who are near. We ourselves proclaim that “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.” In that psalm of reassurance we celebrate Gods unfailing help, His presence in uncertain times and the hope of sharing in the banquet of eternal life.
Within the Church we receive Christ’s love and compassion. He is our Shepherd and King. This is not a private truth, but a message to be shared. As the apostles began to spread the Gospel and establish churches in the wake of Pentecost , so the Diaconate, too began to form a ministry specifically devoted to the service of the poor and needy.
In the Ordination of Deacons, the Prayer of Consecration includes these words, ‘ May he excel in every virtue: in love that is sincere, in concern for the sick and the poor, in unassuming authority, in self discipline and holiness of life’.
At the ordination of a priest, the Bishop prays; may he be faithful in working with the order of bishops, ‘so that the words of the gospel may reach to the ends of the earth, and family of nations made one in Christ, may become God’s one, holy people’.And the Ordination of a Bishop, the prayer is ‘May he be a shepherd to your holy flock and a priest blameless in your sight’.
Notwithstanding, the laity are also part of that Great Commission, at confirmation, we pray that the Father will ‘ pour out the Holy Spirit to strengthen his sons and daughters with his gifts and anoint them to be more like Christ, the Son of God. ‘
As a vocation, some spend a great deal of time and effort in the service of the poor, whether the needs are material or spiritual. Some work in the caring profession, some do voluntary work within the Church or in the secular world. Nonetheless, we have a calling. It is a calling from God to which we are called to respond to daily.
In all, Christ has commissioned us all, in one way or another, to go on from the altar and the confessional and show His compassion and love to those who are still like sheep without a shepherd.
To be a good shepherd you have to be a good sheep following in the footsteps of The Good Shepherd . So therefore, Be a good sheep! Be a good shepherd! Follow the Good Shepherd!