Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary TimeB

 

Reading 1 (Jer 23:1-6)

Woe to the shepherds
who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture,
says the LORD.
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
against the shepherds who shepherd my people:
You have scattered my sheep and driven them away.
You have not cared for them,
but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock
from all the lands to which I have driven them
and bring them back to their meadow;
there they shall increase and multiply.
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.

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
as king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
"The LORD our justice."

Reading 2 (Eph 2:13-18)

Brothers and sisters:
In Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have become near by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he who made both one
and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,
that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two,
thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God,
in one body, through the cross,
putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off
and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Gospel (Mk 6:30-34)

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."
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When he disembarked and 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.


Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

 

I. THEME: Jesus brings hope in despair.

            In life, there is time when people feel insecure, fear and despair because they have to face so many pressure, such as: tension, division, hatred and war. God wants people to put a complete trust and hope in Him, and in Christ who is the hope of all people and the resolution of all problems of life.

            Today readings illustrate God’s wonderful providence, wherever has worriness and despair, there are hope and God’s wonderful resolution. In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah reported the danger of irresponsible shepherds, they misled and scattered the sheep, and the hope to have the Good Shepherd who shall come to gather the sheep and to care for them. In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Ephesians reported the enmities between people and God, between the Jews and the Gentiles, and the hope that Christ’s cross shall reconcile these enmities. In the Gospel, Mark reported that even the apostles overworked, they couldn’t solve all people’s needs. Jesus told them to find a place to rest, he himself shall teach and care for people.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands.

1.1/ The danger of irresponsible shepherds: In every generation, there always exist irresponsible shepherds who don’t fulfill their duties, as Jeremiah reported: “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the Lord.Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.” There are some signs which signal irresponsible shepherds:

            - They don’t care for the flock: They don’t teach their people to know about God and His law. They don’t set good examples for people to follow; in opposition, they set bad examples. They don’t concern for spiritual and material needs of the faithful.

            - They don’t love people unconditionally: They concern only for fur and meat of the fat sheep, those who can benefit them (Eze 34:3).

            - They don’t protect people from dangers: They scattered people directly or indirectly, or they scandalized people either by false doctrines or by their immoral life.

1.2/ The hope for the Good Shepherd who gathers and cares for the sheep: Some signs of the good shepherds are: 

            - They carefully care for the flock: They teach their people to revere God and to practice His commandments.

            - They love and care for their people: They strengthen the weak, heal the sick and bind up the injured. They bring back the strayed and seek the lost.

            - They protect and sacrifice their life for the flock: They protect their sheep from all the wild beasts and from the hands of robbers, and keep their sheep from all dangerous areas.

            The prophet revealed three ways which the Lord shall do for His people:

            (1) Either God Himself shall care for the flock, as Jeremiah’s oracle: “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply.”

            (2) Or He will send a special person who shall take a good care for His sheep: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: "The Lord our justice.”” St. John in his Gospel identified this Good Shepherd with Christ (cf. Jn 10).

            (3) Or God shall train and send to people good shepherds: “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.”

2/ Reading II: He who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh.

            Enmity happen because of unknown, hatred, lack of compassion or pride which regards oneself or one’s race better than others. St. Paul emphasized two main enmities:

2.1/ Between God and people: St. Paul stated: "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ." When people commited a sin, they made themselves to be far away from God, and aren’t worthy to be God’s children. But because of Christ’s blood, he wiped out all people’s sins. People become clean from all their sins and are reconciled with God; therefore, they regain their right as God’s children.

2.2/ Between the Jews and the Gentiles: The Jews believe that they belong to a super race than the Gentiles; there always existed a tension between them. St. Paul explained that when people are reconciled with God, they are required to reconcile with each other through Christ, “For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh.” There is one author who helps us to remember these two reconciliations when he explained that the cross contains two poles: the vertical pole represents the reconciliation between people and God, the horizontal pole represents the reconciliation between people and people.

            St. Paul explained the process of the reconciliation between the Jews and the Gentiles as follows: Christ abolished "the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace,and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it." Before Christ, there is a clear separation between the Jews and all other races. The Jews considered only themselves as God’s people because He chose, protected and gave them the law; all other people are classified by them as the Gentiles which mean they aren’t clean and can’t inherit the priviledges like them. Therefore, the Jews lived separately with the Gentiles, and didn’t want to have anything in common with other races. When Christ came, God’s plan of salvation is extended and included people of all nations. The condition to be included is based on one’s faith, not on keeping of the law. Of course, Christ didn’t abolish all the law; the faithful must keep basic laws to express their faith in God.

            In order to understand what St. Paul talked about the separation between the Jews and the Gentiles, we need to understand the structure of the Jerusalem at that time. There are three walls to separate different people. The first wall separates between the Jews and the Gentiles. Any Gentiles who crosses this wall is to violate the Jewish law and shall be killed. The second wall separates Jewish male and female; female can’t enter the place which is reserved for male. The third wall separates between priests and normal people; only priests can cross this wall to offer sacrifices to God. Besides these three walls, there is also a curtain, closed from top to bottom to separate between the Holy of the priests and the Holly of the Hollies where God presents. Only the High Priest can enter this place on the Day of Atonement, only once a year.

            When Christ came, he destroyed all the walls that separate people with people, as St. Paul expalined, “For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace.” He destroyed not only the first wall but all the walls which separate between people and people, so that “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13).

            Moreover, Christ also tore down the curtain which separates people with God, as the Synoptists reported when Jesus died, “And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mt 27:51, Mk 15:39, Lk 23:45). From that time on, people are no longer far off from God, they can directly come to him, in any place and at all times; they don’t need to go through the High Priest and to wait until the Day of Atonement. St. Paul expressed this process as follows, “He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near,for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.”

3/ Gospel: "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while."

3.1/ The dangerous tension between the shepherd and the sheep

            (1) Overworking in the apostolic mission: St. Mark reported this tension as follows, “The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught...People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.”

            The harvests are many but the workers are afew; how can the apostles meet all people’s needs? How can they balance between their spiritual life and apostolic works?

            (2) Sheep without a shepherd: Mark reported, “People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.” How can the Church find shepherds to care for the sheep when the vocation is decreased everyday? The more people become rich and advanced, the less their moral and familial life are decreased. How can the Church find good shepherds to care for people?

3.2/ Our hope: Christ is the resolution for both the shepherd and the sheep.

            (1) A disciple must have some time to rest with Christ: Jesus recognized the busyness in the apostolic life of his apostles. In order to prevent them to be burned out, he said to them: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Jesus himself found a place for them. This must be an important experience for us. God doesn’t require us to overwork or to be lazy. He wants us to be balanced; when we feel so tired, we must make time to rest in him, not to waste our time in useless recreation which will make us more tiredness.

            (2) Christ himself teaches them many things: Not only priests are shepherds, Christ is the Good Shepherd. He himself can teach, care for, and protect people as today passage wrote, "When he disembarked and 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."

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Let learn from him, trust in him and put our hope in him.

            - Pastors or parents, both are shepherds to care for God’s sheep. Above all, a pastor must teach his people to know and to love Christ.

            - Each of us is a sheep in God’s flock. We must know Christ and pray for our leaders; when we pray for them, we also pray for ourselves. 

Donation (credit card)

Thanks for your supporting.

Amount: