Once again we have the image of the shepherd used in the readings. This is something that most of us don’t have a connection to as many of us live in cities and haven’t seen a shepherd since watching the movie Babe, about the pig who becomes a sheepdog. However shepherds were a common sight in Biblical times shepherds have played a big role in the formation of the Abrahamic religions.
This week the readings begin with the Prophet Jeremiah, where we hear that the Lord says woe to the shepherd who mistreats and scatters the flock. Here the Lord is talking about the exile in Babylon. The Lord then promises to raise up a righteous shoot from David, who “will be called The Lord our Justice,” we know this individual as Jesus. In the second reading we hear from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians it’s a pretty simple message it is through Christ that we have access to the Father in heaven and this access isn’t limited to just the Jews but is open for all people. This is something that we should reflect upon with all the various landmarks which the LGBTQ community has happened these past week are our church communities welcoming to these individuals or would an individual of another racial community feel welcomed at your church.
As we turn to Mark’s Gospel where we hear the Jesus and the apostles went off after they all came back and were reporting what they had done. Now there were many people around them so Jesus and the apostles went off by boat but the people went to where they were going to land and arrived before Jesus did, When Jesus saw this he was moved with pity as the people were like sheep without a shepherd. For many this is how they see their faith, as a sheep looking for a shepherd, sure I am guilty of this picking what mass I go to based on who is saying it, or preaching. Sure we are all hoping for a good shepherd, or more along the lines of a sheepdog that will help us to follow the message from the shepherd. The Pope and other bishops are the shepherds of the Church, with the Pope being the lead one, and the parish priests are like the sheepdogs and we are the sheep.
I hope that this week we can be welcoming to all visitors and newcomers this week and every week that come to your churches this weekend and even in our daily lives be welcoming to everyone you meet. As the Golden Rule says “Do unto other as you would want to be done to you” or the reverse “Do not do to others what you don’t want to happen to you”. Hillel the Elder said “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.” This is the similar sentiment across religions, even Satanist have a similar rule. If we all could live following this rule for a week we might be living in a better world by this time next week.