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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Reflection/Homily: Sixteenth (16th) Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B (July 19 2015)

Reflection/Homily: Sixteenth (16th) Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B (July 19 2015)
Theme: Leading According to the Examples of Christ.

In today’s first reading (Jeremiah 23:1-6), God through the prophet Jeremiah rebukes the bad leaders of Israel who through their bad leadership allowed the Israelites to be destroyed, scattered and taken into captivity by the Assyrians. They could not take good care of the people under their care and perhaps were also unavailable to attend to their needs. As a result, the people became lawless, turned away from God and were taken into captivity. But God did not abandon His people as their leaders did. Instead, He promised to bring them back from captivity, to gather them into one people again and to raise another leader for them. This time, a leader who would be available for them, a leader who would be compassionate and merciful, a leader who would teach them the right things to do and a leader who would attend to all their needs, both spiritual and temporal. 

In the gospel reading (Mark 6:30-34), we see the fulfillment of this promise in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the new shepherd of Israel, the good shepherd who will lay down his life for his sheep instead of allowing them to remain under the captivity of sin and death. He is the shepherd to gather the scattered people into one flock and feed them with his body and blood.

Beloved friends, we may have also been disappointed by our leaders. We have been taken into captivity by sin, anarchy, terrorism, political instability, religious syncretism, war, etc and we have been scattered all over the place that there is no longer peace among us. Like the crowd in the gospel reading, we are like sheep without a shepherd. So let us hurry to meet Jesus our shepherd. He will take pity on us. He will be our shepherd, teach us and provide for us for the psalmist in today’s responsorial psalm assures us that if the Lord is our shepherd, then we shall lack nothing.

Today, Jesus the Good Shepherd and leader is represented by our religious leaders and through them, we encounter the compassionate Jesus, the Good Shepherd and the reliable leader. Therefore, our religious leaders should follow the examples of Jesus to make themselves available for the people seeking God. They have to sacrifice their comfort and rest when genuine pastoral needs call for that. However, most of us are also leaders in various capacities; some are leaders as managers, directors, class prefects, landlords, parents, elders, politicians, teachers, etc. We most often have some persons receiving directives from us. Therefore, as leaders, let us also be conscious of the caveat in the first reading. Be conscious of your position and work for the good of the people under your care or expect the wrath of God to befall you.

Like the second reading (Ephesians 2:13-18) exhorts us, let us after the example of Christ promote peace among the people under our care. As leaders, let us not create barriers between people, nations or races instead, let us break down all barriers between people. Let us lead with unity, love, equality, justice and peace. More so, do not be fast to forget that as a leader, on the last day, at the completion of your work, you will give an account of all you did and taught just as the apostles did in the gospel reading. So work well so that at the last day, you will have something positive to report to the Lord. Finally, in all your endeavours, do not forget to keep communion with the Lord who sent you. Always return to him occasionally to give him a report of your work and to have your strength renewed. Always have some genuine moment of rest and prayer when you will be alone with the Lord of work to receive the unction to function more effectively. As we strive to lead according to the examples of Christ, may he keep assisting us. Amen. God loves you.

1 comment:

  1. Reasons to Believe in Jesus

    Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

    Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

    Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

    And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

    Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

    From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

    If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

    by David Roemer



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