While I am on vacation this month, I offer this Reflection for your consideration. —Msgr. Richard
Jeremiah’s indictment of the leaders of the people is terse and decisive. They have not only neglected the people of God, they have actually misled them. They had scattered the sheep; God would gather them up again. God promises to raise up a new royal shepherd. The coming king will reestablish both Israel and Judah.
The reading from Ephesians speaks of the union, accomplished in Christ, of two different groups of people. The author declares a change has taken place. Previously they had been far off from faith, but now, through the blood of Christ, they have been brought near to all those who believed in Christ before they did. Through Jesus, in the Spirit, all believers have access to the Father.
Either the apostles were quite successful in their mission, or the fame of Jesus had spread abroad, or both, for the people were coming in such numbers that the missionaries had to get away from the crowds. However this did not deter the crowds, who seemed to know where they were going and arrived there before Jesus and the apostles did. Seeing them, Jesus was moved with pity for they were like sheep without a shepherd. Seeing that the people were bereft of strong and dependable leadership, Jesus began to teach them.
Recently I heard some statistics that said for every person coming into the Catholic Church, four are leaving it. It is estimated that 33% of those baptized Catholic have already left. This is staggering news! Where are they going? Why do they leave? Different reasons are given but many said they left because they were not being nourished spiritually.
Every age had its bad shepherds as well as the good ones who have served faithfully. Today more than ever we need good shepherds.
Responding to the Word, let us pray:
God, you spoke through Jeremiah, saying you would appoint shepherds to care for your people. In your Son Jesus you gave us a shepherd who laid down his life for us. Answer our need today for shepherds who will be faithful servants, shepherding with compassion and perseverance.
An excerpt from “Living the An excerpt from “Living the Word” Co-author, Rev. James A. Wallace, C. Ss. R
TREASURES FROM OUR TRADITION
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For the apostles, the promise of rest was foiled by the needs of the people who discovered their hideaway and pressed them into ministry. Some people do indeed use their vacation for ministry and mission, giving an intensity of service otherwise not possible. For most of us, vacation is a time when we can grow more aware of God’s plan, and can renew the bonds of love with family and friends in times of play and leisure.
Giving yourself to summer worship will enrich you, delight you, and give you a sense of the word of God’s progress in your heart. In today’s world, summer is the time when we are most acutely aware of the beauty of the world. Gratitude and wonder are fertile soils for God’s word to take root. Welcome the visitor today, and resolve- that when you travel, you will be faithful to Sunday worship.
Each Christian needs half an hour of prayer each day, except when we are busy; then we need an hour. St. Frances de Sales