One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

July 23, 2006

For the Sixteenth Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

Mark 6:30-34

In one of the Lord’s parables, he tells us of a good shepherd who leaves behind his whole flock in order to go out searching for one lost sheep.
Today in the Gospel, the situation is the reverse.
A great throng of people, like a flock of sheep without a shepherd, goes out to search for Jesus.
They have begun to understand that he is the Good Shepherd sent from God.
Now they flock to him, wanting the good things that he does for them— not only the good of bodily healing, but also the good of his teaching.
As the Gospel tells us today, when Jesus saw this great 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 had led his apostles out to a deserted place in order to rest a while from their work among the people.
The Gospel tells us the crowds were coming and going in such demanding numbers that Jesus and his apostles did not even have time to eat.
Hungry and tired, the Lord and his apostles had boarded a boat at the lakeshore, and departed to be by themselves for food and rest.
As Jesus and the apostles crossed the lake by boat, the Gospel tells us that the people of all the surrounding towns HASTENED— they HURRIED ON FOOT around the edge of the lake to where Jesus was going.
They HURRIED.
They went so FAST they got there AHEAD of Jesus.
We may imagine that the crowd pushed and shoved and cheered as Jesus stepped off the boat.
Perhaps they even shouted “Hosanna”.
We may imagine that the crowd would have nearly DEVOURED the Lord with their enthusiasm.
After all, they did EAT UP his time.
They wore him out, not even leaving him time to feed himself.
And how did the Lord greet this crowd eager and starving to have him?
His Gospel tells us:
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.

Ultimately the Lord would go so far as to offer his very self as real food to feed these and many more hungry people.
I give my life for my sheep.

You and I are also his sheep.
We, too, are part of a vast crowd that seeks and follows Jesus.
We may not have run around a lake to be here to meet the Lord in his liturgy.
Yet we should have such eagerness for the Lord as to run were it necessary.
Which of us would not run were we told a beloved one was dying?
Well … here in the liturgy, in the Blessed Sacrament of his Body and Blood, the Beloved One is “dying”— giving his life for us his sheep.
At the same time, he is also the Risen One, giving his life, his resurrection, his very self for us his sheep.
These are the mysteries of our faith.
This is what we believe; and it should drive us to run after the Lord.
And why?
Because faith also reveals to us that without the Lord, we are sheep without a shepherd, a body without a head, a bride without a groom, a temple empty without God.
Ours would be life and death without meaning or hope.
Here in the liturgy is our shepherd and our teacher.
Here now is our God.
Here is our truest food and drink.
Here is Life.
It is here that we can find the meaning of life and the reason for all hope.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

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An invitation from the Pope for this Sunday, July 23: DAY OF PRAYER AND PENANCE FOR PEACE IN MIDDLE EAST

Click HERE for it.
UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







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