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Sunday 22 July 2018: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

My sheep hear my voice

Jesus, our Shepherd...Last Sunday we heard Mark’s account of the Twelve sent out to share in the Saviour’s mission. Today we have the aftermath described in vivid detail. As they rejoin Jesus, they are full of stories as they share the experience of their missionary journeys. We glimpse the openness and hospitality of the band Jesus gathered around him – ‘there were so many people coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat’. Jesus suggests they cross the water to a ‘lonely place’ where they can ‘rest for a while’. Now he will teach them how to find the interior strength that comes from reflection and contemplation. The scene Mark describes, as Jesus and his disciples arrive at their destination, is a memorable one. The crowd has heard of their coming and awaits them. Hungry for what Jesus has to give them, they ‘were like sheep without a shepherd’. So he changed his plans and ‘set himself to teach them at some length’.

During the Easter season we were reminded that the Risen One is ‘the good shepherd’. On Good Shepherd Sunday, however, our image was the familiar iconic figure, bringing back the lost sheep on his shoulders. Today we have a down-to-earth image. People weighed down by life’s daily problems are looking to Jesus to renew the vision of hope he has given them in the past. He changes his plans and responds to their need. He has another important lesson for the Twelve – the love for struggling humanity that he shares with his Father. He knows no limit or holding back. He wants his disciples to be one with him in this love if they are to be companions in his mission...

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series | Image courtesy of Hermanoleon Clipart