Scripture Readings: Jeremiah 23:1-6; Ephesians 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34
Our Gospel today from Mark ends with the sentence, “Jesus 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.”
Jesus was, is, and will always we our Shepherd; our Good Shepherd. Caring for each of us, all of us, eternally.
We might ask, ”who are the Shepherds of God’s people today? Who will be the Shepherds of God’s people tomorrow?”
There is no doubt that we need to pray for and support the Shepherds of today. Yet, each of us, the Baptized, are included in the group of people who are to be Shepherds, Good Shepherds for one another, God’s people.
What need we do?
First of all, we need to PRAY for Good Shepherds – present and future.
We need to PRAY for Vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life, Diaconate, and Lay Ministries.
We need to PRAY so that we will come to know God’s will for us as person, families and parish.
Secondly we need to ENCOURAGE others to respond to God’s call for Shepherds.
Who have each of us ASKED; who will we ASK to consider Priesthood, Religious Life, Diaconate, or Lay Ministries?
Who have each of us ASKED to join us in the ministries that we are presently part of in the Parish?
Thirdly, we heard today that Jesus “Taught the people many things.” How are we – what are we – teaching others ???
Often people have said, I do not know enough about my faith, about God, about the Sacraments, about whatever. How can I teach others?
I would suggest we need not let what we do not know keep us from learning what we seek to know. For sure there are books and CD’s and DVD’s that can assist in learning more about the faith, as well as the internet which offers us many reliable sources about the things of faith we seek to know – that will allow us to share with others.
So what is the bottom line?
We need to be and continue to grow in being: GOOD SHEPHERDS.
I had planned to end my homily at this point, but last night I watch for about 20 minutes the TV Show, “What Would You Do?” The premise that was set up was a military veteran was checking out in a grocery store after getting some baby food, diapers and a six pack of beer. Turns out he is short (in one scenario) $ 3.50. The lady next in line says to the cashier, “I have 3 dollars to assist the gentleman; maybe you could cover the 50 Cents.” As the camera crew now comes forward the host of the show speaks to the lady who assisted. The lady shares that the 3 dollars was all she would pay for the food she was getting for herself. What we see here is a woman, not just giving some money to help the man, but here was a woman giving to help another person “from her need, her want.” (Talk about a “Good Shepherd!)
Another scenario develops with the military veteran is checking out again having purchases: baby food, diapers, and a six pack of beer. This time the vet uses his credit card to purchase the items, but the credit card is expired. With that, the man next in line, without hesitation takes out this credit card and pays for the vets items.
Several other examples followed and in every case people assisted.
As I thought these situations, it seemed to me that here were some present day Good Shepherds. It is easy to say we need to be Good Shepherds or pray for Good Shepherds to be present in our world. In reality, we are called to be Good Shepherds – today. What will be the moments we encounter today or tomorrow that will be our moment to be a Good Shepherd not some day in the future but today.
As we consider how we as people can be Good Shepherds; we need also to ask how we as families can be Good Shepherds to others; and we need to also ask how we as a parish, church can be a Good Shepherd. When it comes to being a parish/church of Good Shepherds – we need not only look beyond our Parish, but look around our Parish. For example, as a priest for 40 Years, I have heard time and time again that the Church needs to be more just in dealing with employees who deserve a fair, just salary.” It really is a problem when church employees with skills and educations much superior to a teen working at a fast food chain are making not much more per hour, if at all. I would suggest, we need to be Good Shepherds to our dedicated and hard working Parish employees in our Church and in our Parish of St. Mary’s, Crescent. The Church will probably lag behind public sector salaries, but we need to be more just in paying our Church employees a just and fair salary for the job they do to serve us and the mission and ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here at St. Mary’s, Crescent we could certainly begin now to be more fair and just with our Parish Employees by serious considering a dollar or two dollar increase in our weekly offering to the Church.=
Being a Good Shepherd, begins by being Good Shepherds to those who are part of our lives daily in so many ways, being Good Shepherds here and now – allows us to be Good Shepherds to others here and now and beyond our everyday lives & everyday worlds.
May we all take the steps necessary to be Good Shepherds today and everyday!