16th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B):
THE TRAITS OF A GOOD SHEPHERD.
The liturgical readings of this Sunday’s Mass revolve around the traits of JESUS AS THE GOOD SHEPHERD:
- whose “heart was moved with pity upon seeing the crowd like sheep without a shepherd” (Mk 6:34);
- who brings his flock to a “deserted place (cf Mk 6:30),” to “verdant pastures, beside restful waters,” so that they can have time for rest and repose (cf Ps 22) and also “increase and multiply” (Cf. Jer 23:3);
- and who will “appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing” (Cf. Jer 23:4);
- will “unite all peoples” and “will break down all dividing walls of enmity,” thereby establishing peace and reconciliation with God the Father through the Holy Spirit (Cf. Eph 2: 14-18);
- and lastly, a Shepherd “who will punish other shepherds for their evil deeds” of misleading and scattering his flock (Cf Jer 23:2).
IDEAS FOR PERSONAL MEDITATION:
- OUR LORD’S COMPASSION AND SOLICITUDE: It is very consoling to be reminded once more of Our Lord’s compassionate heart and solicitude, attentive to the needs of his flock, be it material, physical or spiritual; and ever ready to put the necessary remedies so that his flock can recover and for this we take advantage of this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Our Lord. We can take advantage of this occasion to ask Our Lord as well to give us the same compassion and attention towards others in order to give them some consolation and help in their moments of need.
- REST IS A GRAVE OBLIGATION. Our Lord knew that the apostolic mission to which He called his disciples is a demanding task, not only from the physical, psychological and spiritual viewpoints, but also time and schedule-wise as well, such that that there were so many people coming and going at that time that “they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. What marvellous things Jesus must have asked them and told them! (St. Josemaria, Furrow, 470).” For this reason, JESUS TOOK CARE OF HIS CHOSEN DISCIPLES, BRINGING THEM TO AN ISOLATED PLACE TO SHOW US THAT REST IS A GRAVE OBLIGATION FOR EVERYBODY: but it must be a kind of REST WHICH IS COMPATIBLE WITH GOD’S LOVE AND OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH.
- NEGLIGENCE IN THE OBLIGATION TO REST AND RECOVER COULD LEAD HAVE REPERCUSSIONS, sometimes grave, on the way a person carries out his family duties, his social relationships, his work, and could sometimes lead to SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUES, in particular, physical, psychological and spiritual BURN-OUT. Saint Gregory Nazianzen comments that a “cord cannot endure constant tension, and an archer needs to loosen the ends of a bow if he wants to be able to draw it again later on (St Gregory Nazianzen, Prayer 26).”
- THE LAY FAITHFUL NEED TO LOVE AND TAKE CARE OF THEIR PRIESTS. Priests, like Jesus and the apostles, carry out their apostolic mission and do it 24/7. It is a LIFE OF SERVICE, OF SELF-GIVING AND DEDICATION TO THE SOULS entrusted to them for love of God, the Church and all souls. They have given themselves entirely to God for these reasons. Nevertheless, THEY TOO, LIKE ANY HUMAN BEING, GET TIRED AND NEED TO RECOVER THEIR STRENGTH.
However, unlike most other people, A LOT OF PRIESTS LIVE ON THEIR OWN, FAR FROM THEIR FAMILY AND RELATIVES, GIVING RISE TO A SITUATION WHERE A LOT OF THEM FEEL ISOLATED AND ALONE (especially those who are assigned to far-flung places), and when these circumstances are coupled with fatigue, priests are left in a VERY VULNERABLE SITUATION.
THROUGH THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS, THE LAY FAITHFUL COULD AND SHOULD HELP THEIR PRIESTS, first by taking into account their situation, ─aware that all of us are at the same time sheep and shepherd in Our Lord’s flock─ AND SUPPORT THEM with their:
- DAILY AND CONSTANT PRAYERS FOR ALL THE PRIESTS IN THE WORLD, so that they be faithful, holy, spiritually and apostolically vibrant;
- FILIAL FRIENDSHIP, compatible with God’s love and their priestly vocation and celibacy, making them feel accepted in the parish or community entrusted to them; avoiding any word, commentary, or anything which would constitute as lack of charity;
- FILIAL RESPECT which is due to his sacred condition as a MAN CONSECRATED TO GOD and not to his person in particular.
HOW MANY DANGEROUS SITUATIONS COULD BE EASILY AVOIDED IF A PRIEST FEELS LOVED AND SUPPORTED BY HIS PARISHIONERS, CONGREGATION OR COMMUNITY!
Dear friends, as we prepare for this Sunday’s Mass,
LET US THANK OUR LORD FOR HIS COMPASSION AND ASK THE SAME FOR ALL OF US.
LET US ASK OURSELVES WHETHER WE DEDICATE THE SUFFICIENT TIME FOR REST, NOT ONLY FOR OURSELVES BUT FOR THOSE WHO DEPEND ON US and ASK OUR LORD AS WELL TO CONSOLE THOSE WHO ARE TIRED, BURDENED AND ILL.
FINALLY, DO WE SUPPORT AND LOVE OUR PRIESTS WITH OUR PRAYERS,
FRIENDSHIP AND FILIAL RESPECT? LET US PRAY DAILY FOR THE HOLINESS, APOSTOLIC ZEAL AND PERSEVERANCE OF ALL THE PRIESTS IN THE WORLD ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS
AND ASK OUR LORD AS WELL TO SEND MORE LABOURERS TO HIS VINEYARD.
Mother of the Church,
Mother of Priests,
Queen of the family,
ora pro nobis!
-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
FOR TODAY’S SUNDAY MASS READINGS, CLICK HERE.