Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

good shpherd.jpg

 Mark

"They were like sheep without a shepherd …"

The apostles had come back from their first mission to report on and assess all they had done and taught, and Jesus invited them to come away to a "lonely place" where they can rest. But they arrived at the "lonely place" only to find it crowded with people who were searching for Jesus. He took pity on them, describing them as being like sheep without a shepherd. There were poor people, sick people, people who were feeling lost, dejected and rejected. These were people pining for the One who would speak to them of their true dignity, value and worth, and assure them that they are loved by God. Without even recognising it, they were longing for the One who could lead them along the right path, and teach them how to live as God's beloved children. So, no sooner had Jesus arrived in his "lonely place" to get away from the crowds than he was again at work for them. Always available, his work is never done.

And thank God for that, for Jesus looks now on us with the same compassionate love. He sees us at times dispirited, confused or disbelieving. He recognises that we too can be like sheep without a shepherd, preoccupied by the pressures of life, stressed by the speed of life, burdened by the demands of each day, distracted by the allurements of the world. We too need to be reminded of our true dignity, value and worth, and assured that we are loved by God no matter how tough life can sometimes be. We ourselves, and many more with us, are people who need the hope and light, compassion and help that Jesus brings into the world. And today we are reminded that he does indeed reach out to us in our need, through the gift of his Spirit, through the sacraments and, not least, through the care we share for each other.