In the first reading, our Father proclaims that he will pass judgment upon shepherds who allow the flock of his pasture to be destroyed and scattered. This raises the question of accountability and of responsibility of leaders. Those who are in positions of power have a duty and responsibility to guide and nurture those under their leadership. Just as a shepherd tends to his herd, leaders need to bear the needs of others before themselves. Feed them; protect them; guide them. When shepherds, lose their sheep, they are filled with anxiety. There is a need to seek those who have been led astray or feel lost in their lives in our communities to share Christ’s light, bringing them comfort and peace in their hearts.
God will take those who have neglected their duties as leaders to task, and not allow his sheep who have been misled to continue down the wrong path. He promises to shepherd his people, and those who feel lost should be comforted in the knowledge that God will not forsake us. He will lead us through Jesus Christ, who will also inspire other leaders that can gather the scattered flock.
The psalm reinforces this message by reminding us that our Father is our shepherd. When we are defeated and tired, He takes control, if we allow, of our lives, correcting and protecting us along the way. In our times of darkness, he is there to comfort us. Our Father seeks out the scattered sheep and rescues them. He will provide, guide and feed us when we turn to Him, for eternity.
The second reading prompts us to reflect on our relationships in our daily lives. Do we have a rift with a co-worker? Are we upset with our family members over an issue? Are we torn apart from a friend because of differing views? This reading reminds us that such issues are not absent from our lives, in fact, they will always be there, and we should turn to Jesus in these moments. Jesus has shown that when we allow him to be present in our everyday lives, he guides us to make the right decisions. Putting Christ in the centre tempers the emotions of our human thinking that cause these divisions. At the same time, consciously putting Jesus in our foremost thoughts allows us a closer and more intimate relationship with Him. Jesus offers peace and clarity to us, peace that reflects deeply onto our relationships with those around us.
In the Gospel, Jesus reminds the disciples to take a moment to recharge after returning from their mission. We see that even though it is important to put your heart and soul into spreading the word, it is also important to rest, pray and recharge with our Father. It was Jesus who instructed them to spread his message, but also to say “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while”. Applying this to our daily lives: do we spend our time engrossed in task after task and neglect spending time with our Father? Do we set aside time to rest, recharge, pray and get direction from Him?
Although Jesus put the needs of the crowd before himself, as a good shepherd would his flock, Jesus often goes to a quiet place to spend time with our Father. The readings together have shown that if we believe that we are part of His flock and He is our shepherd, we have nothing to fear.
Ephrem Music Ministry