Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
There is striking beauty in the appointed texts for this weekend.
And there are shepherds.
And the shepherds are beautiful.
I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord. (Jer. 23:4).
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (Ps. 23:1)
. . . and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. (Mk. 6:34b)
The lesson from Ephesians does not mention shepherds but its images and metaphors are equally beautiful, and shepherd-like:
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. (Eph. 2:14)
When one reads these four lessons together, going back and forth among them, savoring their beauty, noting their obvious (and not so obvious) connections, it is difficult to reconcile the vision they cast of the shalom of God with much of what constitutes ecclesial life in our time. Especially in this season of denominational gatherings in which the worst of ourselves, individually and corporately, is often on display: the petty bickering; the refusal to really listen to each other; the lack of charity and humility in our dealings with those we disagree with. Read more