While I am away on my annual vacation, weekly Reflections will be presented for your consideration.
Where is the peace we need?
Jeremiah is in a tough mood. He castigates the government and kings of Israel, telling them they have led the people astray and have been faithless shepherds. As a result, the people are unfaithful to the covenant they made with God. But God has not given up. The Lord will gather the remnant of the flock back together and he will appoint leaders who will shepherd them so they need no longer fear and tremble. And best of all, the Lord promises the people a king who will reign and govern wisely and his name will be “the Lord our Justice.”
Saint Paul builds on this good news as he writes to the Ephesians. He tells them something that we all need to hearespecially today. We have all come back to the fold by the blood of Christ who is our peace, who made us all one and broke down the wall of enmity. Think of it: the Lord our Justice came bringing peace to all. Where is this peace?
Today’s gospel reading is one that speaks to the heart and makes clear what our first two Readings have taught us. The disciples had been sent out as evangelizers and now come back, all tired out and eager to tell Jesus of their experiences. But people have been following them to learn more and there is so much coming and going that Jesus, as a good shepherd, tells the disciples to come away by themselves to a deserted place and rest a while.
Like us, the people want moremore miracles, more teaching, more presencesomething more. They hurried around the lake to where Jesus and the disciples landed.
What is it that strikes you? Is it that people hastened on foot to the other side of the lake? Is it Jesus’ compassion for the people? Is it that he began to teach them many things? If people seem like sheep without a shepherd, what is it they need? What do we need when we come here on Sunday? We might even ask ourselves what we need to be freed from.
Where is this peace Jesus brought? When we look at our world today we see more strife, violence, animosity, and war than we see peace. In our hearts do we find peace? In our family, in our parish, our church, our neighborhoods, and in our workplaces?
It should be clear to us that we are needy followers of Christ. And as his disciples we have a task facing us. Jesus sent out his disciples and he sends us out as well. We don’t have to go to the Middle East or Africa. The majority of us need to be disciples right here where we are: in our family, our parish, our church, our neighborhoods, and at our places of work. We need to do whatever we can to make peace possible. Of course we can praythat is absolutely necessarybut we need to do more. We need to open our hearts like Jesus did and see where we can make peace more possible. It might take some heroic actions, but it might not. Our Good Shepherd is asking us to be faithful in following him and in bringing about peace.
St. Benedict’s Monastery,
St. Joseph, Minnesota.
Stephanie Weisgram, OSB