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16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Homily

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Ephesians 2:13-18
Mark 6:30-34
July 19, 2015

Last week we heard Jesus send out the Twelve.  This week they report back and He tells them to take some time to rest.

It’s important to realize they didn’t go out on their own never to return.  They came back to Jesus to check in.  He tells them to rest.  We need rest to keep ourselves centered on what we are supposed to be doing.

But they can’t rest!  Why?  Because the people kept coming to them in such great numbers that Jesus and the Apostles didn’t even have time to eat.

Why?  What is it that the people are looking for?  What is it they “want”?

Jesus is moved with pity for them “for they were like sheep without a shepherd.”  They wanted direction in their lives.  They wanted someone to tell them what is right and wrong so Jesus “began to teach them.”

This might seem odd in our world today where people speak of freedom as being able to do whatever we want.  However, we must realize our need for leadership.

God had appointed leaders for the people but many were failing in their duties.  As Jeremiah says, “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock.”

In the days of Jeremiah the shepherds spoken of were the kings, called by God to lead the people.  Today, with separation of church and state, many no longer see the government leaders as appointed by God.  Instead they are serve our needs and wants.  In the Church, the shepherds are the bishops, priests, and administrators.  In our homes, it is the parents.

It isn’t easy to lead.  How often do we question the motives of those in leadership positions?  How often do leaders act out of their own self-interest?  How often do they do what we want?  How often do they do what God wants?

We are human and we each have our own opinion.  We each have things we want.  We each have our own interest.  That shapes our own decisions and it shapes how we interpret the actions of others, including those in leadership positions.

We live in a very busy world.  There are too many things going on.  I know for me there are days where I feel like all I do is answer emails and phone calls.  These can be important but it can also make it hard to sit back and reflect.

Remember how Jesus told the Apostles to go away by themselves?  We cannot just keep “doing.”  Any of us, especially leaders, need to regularly be able to take the time to reflect on what is going on.  If we just keeping doing, we might make decisions about what is simplest or in our own interest but when we take time to reflect, we seek God’s will.  We realize we don’t have all the right answers.  For example, we’ve been working on the parish budget.  Collections haven’t kept up with expenses.  That’s means tough decisions, decisions I don’t want to make so I keep asking God what to do.

The 23rd Psalm begins “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall not want.”  Is there something you want?  There is something I want, to do God’s Will.

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