July 18, 2021 - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” Psalm 23
by Sister Maureen Niedermeyer, OSB
This Sunday’s readings contain many references to shepherds. Some have no compassion for their flocks, but God appoints shepherds who will provide a place of safety and love. Who are the people in your life who have taught you God’s ways? These persons have accompanied you through difficult and fearful times. What a blessing to have such persons in your life. Perhaps God may be calling you to be such a shepherd for others. Pray that you can identify, be grateful for, and be willing to embrace that person you are called to assist.
St. Paul speaks of the peace that Jesus came to bring to those who were far off and those who were near. I remember a Weston Priory song with Jesus’ words: “Peace I leave with you, my friends. Peace the world cannot give. Peace I leave with you, my friends, so that your joy may be full.” Hopefully, we can extend peace to those in our lives.
In the gospel, Jesus and his disciples need a quiet place for a rest, yet when they get there they find the crowd is already there waiting for them. In spite of his fatigue, this good shepherd’s heart is full of compassion and he puts aside his own needs to care for them. Here we have an example of selfless generosity and also prudent regard for our own limitations. Good pastoral care includes taking care of ourselves because if we are exhausted and depleted, we will become useless for others.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“Let him strive to be loved rather than feared.” Chapter 64:15, The Election of an Abbot
“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27