16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

In today’s Gospel the Good Shepherd not only goes in search of the lost sheep, but they go looking for him: they know their lost and Our Lord will watch over them. The First Reading reminds us that the Lord promised to personally shepherd his people after certain shepherds had mislead them, mistreated them, and scattered them: the kings of Israel had not shepherded the Lord’s sheep as they were called to do. When Our Lord sees the crowds seeking him out everywhere, he feels that same compassion, wanting to care for them and lead them to those pastures Jeremiah speaks about in the First Reading. Jesus is Lord and Good Shepherd.

Our Lord doesn’t walk the earth anymore as he did, but people still continue to seek him. Why? The Second Reading tells us that the blood of Christ has drawn together people from near and far: through his sacrifice we feel the call in our hearts to be united through him. Anything that separates us can be overcome through the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross: we are reconciled with him and reconciled with each other. Our Lord still works to gather his sheep and lead them to greener pastures, aided by the shepherds he has appointed. After Jesus’ Ascension the people would be seeking out the Apostles taught by Jesus in order to be united into the flock that always remains the Lord’s, as they do today through bishops and priests.

Even now the Lord seeks to guide us and unite us. Let’s thank him for being the shepherd willing to lay down his life for us, and make his blood bear fruit in our lives through reconciling with anyone with whom we may be separated. Reconciliation with others goes hand in hand with reconciliation with God.

Readings: Jeremiah 23:1–6; Psalm 23:1–6; Ephesians 2:13–18; Mark 6:30–34.