VIEWING THIS BLOG
If you subscribe to this Blog, which of course is FREE, the format that arrives in your inbox is sometimes all over the place. Might I suggest to you that you use the Blog alert for you to go back to www. realhomilies.com
And view it the way I originally posted it….hopefully it will appear neat and tidy. However, you might find a typo every now and then, sometimes they escape my eye, sorry. L Thanks, Fr.Kev
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.
It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in my being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link. The Second Reading is continuous, and follows on to the next Sunday.
First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6
‘Doom for the shepherds who allow the flock of my pasture to be destroyed and scattered – it is the Lord who speaks! This, therefore, is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds in charge of my people: You have let my flock be scattered and go wandering and have not taken care of them. Right, I will take care of you for your misdeeds – it is the Lord who speaks! But the remnant of my flock I myself will gather from all the countries where I have dispersed them, and will bring them back to their pastures: they shall be fruitful and increase in numbers. I will raise up shepherds to look after them and pasture them; no fear, no terror for them any more; not one shall be lost – it is the Lord who speaks!
‘See the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks –
when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David,
who will reign as true king and be wise,
practising honesty and integrity in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel dwell in confidence.
and this is the name he will be called:
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 22
R. The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit. R.
He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort. R.
You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing. R.
Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever. R.
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:13-18
In Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law. This was to create one single New Man in himself out of the two of them and by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single Body and reconcile them with God. In his own person he killed the hostility. Later he came to bring the good news of peace, peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near at hand. Through him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Let’s PAUSE again after this Reading, and reflect on it like you did after the first Reading. The Community Acclamation follows and should be sung: e.g ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday! We never say it… 🙂
Gospel: Mark 6:30-34
The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflection time again……. Can you see and hear the links, connecting the First Reading, and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..
DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES
If you have ever opened your eyes under water, or used a snorkel and face mask, or had the opportunity to use an aqualung, it is a very different world to explore isn’t it? I love snorkelling, and it is though the fish welcome you into their world. However, they need to be treated with respect, and one must be aware of ‘no-go’ zones especially where sharks are known to call that place, ‘home’ especially at meal times. So, this next section is going down into the Scriptures, which opens the pathway for us to be curious about The Word, and it will also develop an appetite in us to do this more often.
Focusing the word
Key words and phrases
The disciples rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught.
You must come away to some lonely place and rest for a while.
He set himself to teach them at some length.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord upholds my life.
Doom for the shepherds who allow the flock to be destroyed and scattered.
to the point
Jesus, the true shepherd of God, responds to the needs of those around him: a listening ear, food, and rest for the weary apostles; teaching for the leaderless crowd. As disciples of Jesus we are to respond with listening ears, food, rest, and teaching. But as disciples we also receive the same care from Jesus when we are the ones in need. We are both bearers and beneficiaries of Jesus’ compassion (‘took pity on them’).
Connecting the Word
to the first reading
Jeremiah foresees the shepherding task of God entrusted to a king of the house of David. Jesus is that royal shepherd.
to human experience
Some human needs are clear and obvious, e.g., food, clothing, and shelter. Other needs, however, are equally pressing, e.g., an understanding heart and a listening ear. Discipleship calls us to respond to both.
Understanding the Word
Kings and shepherds
Hammurabi, a Babylonian King of the 18th century b.c., declared: ‘The great gods called me, so I became the beneficent shepherd whose sceptre is righteous; my benign shadow is spread over my city. In my bosom I carried the people of the land – they prospered under my protection; I always governed them in peace; I sheltered them in my wisdom, in order that the strong might not oppress the weak, that justice might be dealt the orphan and the widow.’ Already at this early date kings in the ancient Near East were using the image of the shepherd to describe their kingly rule, likening their governance to the strong and tender care a shepherd provides for sheep, particularly for the weakest of their flock – orphans and widows.
In Israel this political metaphor – leader/king as shepherd – merged with historical reality: Abraham, Moses, and David were all actual shepherds as well as leaders and, in David’s case, a king. In Israel no less than in Babylon, Assyria, or Egypt, the king was expected to protect his people and to govern them with justice. But the sad reality was quite different. Jeremiah lists the misdeeds of Israel’s shepherds (kings): they mislead, scatter, drive away, and fail to care for the sheep, leaving them to ‘fear and tremble.’ Therefore God, the ultimate King and Shepherd, will personally care for ‘the flock of my pasture.’ This language reminds kings that the people are God’s people, not the king’s employees or subjects. God swears to remove these false shepherds and to gather and bring them back. Then, using the language of creation, God will bless them so they will ‘increase and multiply’ (see Gen 1:22, 28). And finally God will ‘appoint shepherds,’ that is, God will restore a righteous king to the house of David. The king will govern wisely and shall be so renowned for doing what is ‘just and right’ that his reign shall reveal God’s own justice.
Jeremiah’s prophecy would be fulfilled in Jesus who, as David’s ‘virtuous Branch,’ is an eternal king and a caring shepherd.
A realhomilie::: by Fr Kevin Walsh
Dear One and All,
Today’s gospel is a little gem, because it gives us another glimpse of the compassion, thoughtfulness, and unselfishness of Jesus. It is wonderful to see Jesus in action at close range, as it were.
There are various times in our lives when we experience all the emotions of today’s gospel. There are happy times, when we have achieved something, and are grateful. There are times when we are exhausted, and we just need to get away on own for a while. Sometimes within that so called ‘rest’ it is a time for ‘gazing’ into what the Lord has been doing within the activity of our Christian mission-that of course can be a deep prayerful ebb and flow. Then there are times when we feel lost, separated, and very scattered. Put Jesus in those situations and you have today’s gospel.
It may sound strange, but because we have all received a formal education at School, TAFE or University, we could easily be the ones who fail to understand the real meaning of Our Lord’s teaching. We could confuse it with classes or lectures, with reading, study and assignments with academic exercise. That is not the kind of Teacher Jesus is. His teaching is a gentle, quiet revelation within the heart. Revelation means to lift the veil off something, and show what is underneath. There is something within all of us that rises to the surface at everything that has to do with Jesus. When we reflect on it, we see clearly that he has what we want and what we need. We can easily get distracted, and forget that fact, and that often leads us into depression, lack of hope and negativity.
The first Reading today is one of great hope and optimism. Yet on the flip side, God’s Word in no uncertain terms outlines the role and life of a shepherd within Israel – the Church. Let’s spend a little time on fleshing out the Biblical understanding of a shepherd. For a start, shepherds lead sheep, they don’t push them. Goats are pushed, and not led. The shepherd in Biblical times would have had a very small number of sheep compared to what Australian Sheep Farmers have on their Properties (Farms). In Biblical times the shepherd had a trusting and loving relationship with each sheep, somewhat like we have with our Pets at home these days. We have a Tibetan Black and Brown Spaniel, named Rosie; now this dog is amazing in how it responds to us. If there is sadness, the dog appears, jumps up on to our lap and ‘is present’. Our dog shows happiness and great love in very beautiful ways. Often I have called her Venerable Rosie the 1st. Most of us would have experienced this kind of relationship during our life time with Pets.
It is a relationship built and reinforced on trust! The shepherd, if he or she is fair-dinkum (In Australia that means: real and true) will live one’s life of Mission with the greatest of sensitivity, care and watchfulness. In our times of so called high technology, there seems to be a growing tendency of treating people like objects, numbers, twitter names and black and white decision making. Along with this, it seems to perpetuate a kind of distance between people, somewhat like a Computer screen linked up to another computer next door, and the conversations takes place within a chat room. It would appear to me that to be truly a shepherd is to be truly wholesome which then = holy! Too many shepherds in various shapes and forms in our world can easily hide within the structures and externals of the church, and be terribly bad listeners, but very good autocrats. When we were Baptised, we were also signed with the Oil of Chrism, that oil which expresses that we are to be followers of the Good Shepherd and in turn through the Sacrament of Confirmation, confirm what happened at Baptism so that we would model our lives, and service on Christ, The Good Shepherd. If we have trouble really listening to the people that are in our community called ‘church’, we then have Buckley’s chance of hearing Christ in His people. If our Shepherding charisma only stops at the Blessed Eucharist, and does not see God’s people in it and through it, that kind of spirituality would be questionable. Finally, while I am on a ‘roll’ with this theme, a true shepherd will go and look for the stray or the injured sheep and bring them back to the fold. Notice how a shepherd does that; he carries it on his shoulders, holding its legs. Yes, it is a dirty task, but the security that a sheep feels in this activity calms them down…..There are just so many ways that we can unravel that experience into ministerial responses.
In the Gospel, Jesus invites his Missionaries to go to a lonely place and rest awhile, by themselves. This is a very profound invitation by the Lord. Notice that Jesus would go off to lonely places and rest awhile from time to time. It was not a time just to get away from it all….but a place and space to enter into conversation with the Lord God, and to ‘gaze’ on all that was said and done while working in the mission. It could also mean that as the group of apostles were together in this action of ‘resting’ it would appear that through their conversations the will of God would be seen in greater detail, and the new life that had been freely given by them through preaching the Word, would in turn enliven them so that they too could see the saving hand of God at work in their missionary ventures. Let’s go a little further with the concept of ‘resting’. This is not unlike what we see in the Book of Genesis, when the Lord God rested after all His work; it was not as though the Lord God was tired, but when he ‘gazed’ on all that had come into being, he savoured it in a relational way because it was all good.
We can be sheep without a shepherd if we so choose. Jesus offers us himself as our shepherd, and he asks us to follow him. Just as an Israelite shepherd leads his sheep out of a cave or shed each morning, to wander off in search of food, so must our decision to follow him be renewed with each waking day? ‘They who follow me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life’. The decision and the choice are ours, right here, right now. This is one area where decisions cannot be left off ‘till some other time. There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come’.
Lord, look upon us and take pity on us,
For at times we too are like sheep.
Save us from a blind following of the herd.
Help us to listen to your voice,
To trust you and to follow you,
Even if it means leaving the crowd
And walking a lonely path.
Lead us from fear to trust,
From error to truth,
From hate to love, from war to peace,
From despair to hope, and from death to life. AMEN.
God Bless you and your families and may we never forget each other in prayer.
This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. During Easter tide you might like to place some white and gold material on your devotional altar. You might like to create your own permanent ‘sacred space’ in your home, where the Word of God is open, and a small tee light within a fire proof glass, could awaken in the minds and hearts of your family of the ‘real presence’ of God in His Word. Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. The burning of some fragrant oil also can evoke in the minds of your family, ‘prayer time’. Someone in the family might like to be the leader of the intercessions, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer..
Leader: We pray now to our Shepherd who will surely hear our prayers and grant our needs.
That the Church always be a haven of rest for the weary of body and of spirit. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
That nations find creative ways to feed their hungry and care for their downtrodden. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
That those worn out by the demands of the gospel find rest in Christ. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
That all of us eagerly come to Christ for rest and care. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones and ipads….who are some of the people in our Global village or need our prayers? You might like to share some of these…………., we pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
Leader: Shepherd God, you grant rest to the weary and fill the needs of those who come to you: hear these our prayers that one day we may enjoy eternal rest with you. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.
Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.
1. The Cross
ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.
2. The bread……………
ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.
3. The pain
ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT.
4. The joy………………
ALL WE SHALL SHARE IT.
5. The Gospel……………
ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.
6. The love…………
ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.
7. The light……………
ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.
8. The darkness…………….
ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.