Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 22, 2018

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.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

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.

Alleluia JN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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.

Sunday Gospel Reflections
Fr. Toto Cerada, SDB
Mary Help of Christians Parish, Calamba City

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [July 22, 2018] Mark 6:30-34

He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”  (Mrk 6:31)

mother-holding-childs-hand-who-260nw-232137526I am currently having my clinical pastoral education at one of the hospitals in Metro Manila. It has been one month since I started my pastoral visits. Since then, I have encountered people in different stages of illness. Many of them are fast recovering, some are taking more time to get cured, but some others have to face serious conditions. It is my ministry as a chaplain to accompany them in their journey of healing. I feel immense joy when I can witness their healing process, from one who is weak on the bed, to one who is standing and ready to leave the hospital.

However, the greatest privilege for me is that I am given a chance to accompany some persons in their journey of dying. It seems rather morbid because we are all afraid of death, and many still look at talking about death as taboo. Yet, in the hospital, battling death is a daily business for both the patients and the medical professionals. It is just that some are dying longer than the others. Death and dying are terrifying because they end our life, shatter our dreams, and cut our relationship with the people we love. I befriend a young man who just graduated with a lot of dreams in his heart, yet cancer robs him of his dreams as he has to struggle with painful and unforgiving chemotherapy. I also accompany a young woman who has kidney failures and has to spend a lot on her dialysis and medicine. She is not able to finish her school, to find a job, and to pursue her dreams. A young mother has to leave behind her young children in the province, move to Manila, jump from one hospital to another, just to be cured of her breast cancer. Her only wish is to be reunited with her children.

However, as I journey with them, I discover that dying is not only terrifying but also a privilege. It is true that dying can trigger many negative feelings like denial, anger, bitterness, and even depression. One can blame himself, or get angry with God. One who can only depend on the generosity of the people around him can feel helpless and even depressed. However, when the patient begins to accept his situation, dying can be transformed into a moment of grace. The dying person can now see what truly matter in life. As healthy persons, we do a lot of things; we work hard, we achieve many things. With so much in our hands, we tend to overlook what are the most essential in our lives. Dying slows us down, and gives us time to think clearly. It provides us the rare opportunity to settle the unfinished business and to do the missions God has entrusted to us. Paradoxically, the dying is the one who is truly living. As Mitch Albom writes in Tuesdays with Morrie, “The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites His disciples to rest. After working so hard for their mission, Jesus brings them to a deserted place. After success in their preaching, the disciples may easily be proud and be full of themselves. Yet, a genuine rest may settle them down and reorient themselves into Jesus, the source of their mission and success.

We do not have to suffer first from terminal illness as to experience dying. We can always avail the privilege of dying through moments of rest, prayer, and reflection. It is always good to reflect the words of St. John of the Cross, “in the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.”

Br. Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP

Folowing Jesus demands loyalty 2 him. This creates tension & conflicts w/in & among family membrs. R u redi 2 tke d cost of leaving ur loved ones 4 Jesus & his teachings? Wen u choose Christ, ur sacrifice is worth d price.

Jesus shows great concern 4 pipol. And he doesn’t neglect his “core group”, his disciples. In working 4 others, dnt forget those closest 2 u. Ur success in society cannot compensate 4 ur failure in ur family. Hw are they?

Fr. Ramon T. Salibay, O.P.

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