16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
‘You must come away ... and rest for a while’
Show favour, O Lord, to your servants
and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace,
that made fervent in hope, faith and charity,
they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands.
The readings this week offer a welcome invitation to spend more time with our loving Lord who is our shepherd, and in whom we find nourishment, shelter, and peace for our minds and bodies.
In the First Reading, the prophet Jeremiah introduces the image of the Shepherd-King, who gathers, nourishes, and sets us free from fear.
The image of a God who restores, revives, guides, protects, feeds, anoints, and longs for us to dwell in God’s presence forever, is proclaimed in today’s beautifully familiar Psalm.
The Second Reading reinforces the image of a people being gathered in and restored to a peaceful relationship with and through Christ Jesus. Through this relationship we are all united in the Spirit with the Father.
The Gospel scene is a perfect example of the Spirit at work in Jesus, as he compassionately responds to both the needs of his disciples and of his needy flock. Jesus recognises both the need for his beloved followers to be refreshed and restored in the stillness of his presence, and the need to respond with compassion to those who feel lost and are in need of his guidance.
Perhaps we can recognise this same dynamic in the expression of our own faith, as we ourselves need to make time to be still with the Lord, yet are also called to be active participants in his ongoing mission.
Let us pray for each other. May we have the wisdom to spend our time in a sustaining balance of both contemplation and action as we live out our faith, trusting that Jesus the Good Shepherd will be our guide.
‘Come … rest for a while in his presence …’