Thoughts on the Readings for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

For this Sunday’s readings, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 

In our Gospel last Sunday Jesus sent his disciples out two by two to preach and heal in this name.  In this Sunday’s Gospel we are told that when they returned: “The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.  He said to them ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’”   Unfortunately the crowds discovered where they were going and “arrived at the place before them.”    When Jesus saw the vast crowd “his heart was moved with pity for them for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”  

Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, knew that his disciples were tried after their missionary journey.  He also knew they probably needed to debrief and to talk about what had happened.  He responded to this need by telling them to “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”   In a similar way, when we are tired and overwhelmed Jesus still invites us to come away to a deserted place and rest with him.  Unfortunately, too often we fail to respond to Jesus’ invitation and thus don’t find the rest and refreshment he wants to give us.  

Our first reading this Sunday from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah shares the theme of the Gospel.  In it God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, promises to care for his people: “I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the Lord.”   

In our second reading this Sunday from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians, Paul reminds us that Christ came to establish peace and to end divisions and hostility. “For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion: 

  1. Many people find retreats or days of reflection places where they have experienced rest and refreshment in Christ?  When and/or where have you found rest and refreshment in Christ? 
  2. Have you experienced Christ, the Good Shepherd, caring for you?  
  3. Where do you need to experience Christ’s peace in your life?   

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