16th Sunday of the Year (b)
Sunday 22nd July: Sixteenth Sunday of the Year. (B)
It is a great pity that our world, that the people in it have become so heartless as to do away with compassion and pity. We need look no further than the crisis in the Middle East today to see what happens when we lose sight of them
The readings today remind that this is not God’s way. He cares for us with a love deeper and even more tender than that of a mother for the child to which she has given life.
The first reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah. The leaders of Israel have been bad shepherds he says. God will, however, give his people a good shepherd, the Messiah.
In the second reading, from the Letter to the Ephesians, Paul reminds us that, in Christ, the barriers of hostility between different groups of people have been broken. All can be united in and through Christ.
In the Gospel, even though Jesus and the disciples needed a break, Jesus could not close his heart to the leaderless people who came looking for him. Does he say the same today as he looks on his world being torn apart? Is he moved to pity because we are like a sheep without a shepherd because we are not living his message?
Monday 23rd July: Feast of St. Bridget.
St. Bridget is the patron saint of Sweden. She was born in 1304. From a very early age, she devoted her life to Christ in prayer. She married a Swedish Prince and was totally committed as a wife and as mother. On his death, she founded a convent and this was the beginning of new order of nuns – the Bridgettines. Initially men and women lived in separate buildings but used the same church in a ‘double monastery’. She died in Rome in 1373.
Tuesday 24th July: Tuesday of the 16th week of the year.
Micah was a prophet who lived about the same time as Isaiah but in the Southern Kingdom. He is driven by social justice and the impending invasion from Assyria. In this passage, he gives the people in exile a message of hope. He sees God as the gentle shepherd leading his flock to new pastures. If the people try to follow, God will not let them down.
We reminded in Matthews’s Gospel passage that anyone who does the will of the Father is part of his family.
Wednesday 25th July: Feast of St. James.
James was the son of Zebedee and the brother of St. John. He was a Galilean by birth and, by trade, a fisherman, along with his father and brother. With Peter and John, he formed a special grouping within the apostles – witnessing the healing of Peter’s mother, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the transfiguration and the agony in the garden. He was the first of the apostles to die for his faith around the year 42/43. He was buried in Jerusalem but according to Spanish tradition, his relics were transferred to Compostella in Spain around 800. This not accepted by all scholars.
Thursday 27th July: Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne.
Details about Joachim and Anne are sketchy and found only in apocryphal literature. In one of these it is claimed that Mary’s birth was miraculous because Joachim and Anne were sterile There were originally two feasts but they were combined in 1969.The feast is celebrated on the day that the basilica in honour of St. Anne was dedicated in Constantinople in the year 550.
Friday 28th July: Friday of the 16th week of the year.
Jeremiah is a gentle and shy prophet, initially uncomfortable with his role. In this section, he calls the people to repentance so that God can watch over the people and care for them.
Jesus explains the parable he taught in yesterday’s Gospel. It is the parable of the sower and the seed. Our hearts are to be the rich soil which bears fruit a hundredfold in God’s love.
Saturday 29th July: Saturday of the 16th week of the year.
Jeremiah opens his heart to the people at the temple. He warns them that they must give up all wrong doing before approaching the temple.
Another parable from Jesus reminds the listeners that evil and good will live side by side until the day of Judgement when they will be separated.
WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD
This is what God asks of each one of us.