Homily Sixteenth Sunday Year B God's plan

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Homily: Sixteenth Sunday Year B

Reading 1: The last few Sundays we have been reading from the prophets of the Old Testament. Today, we hear from the prophet Jeremiah. He was commissioned by God to speak God’s word to the people of Israel, calling them to repentance and to submit to the will and plan of God. They were about to be chastised for their breaking of their covenant with God for many generations. They were called to submit to God’s chastisement. That was the general message.


In today’s reading, there are three parts. First, Jeremiah blames the religious and political leaders for the state of that the people. Instead of shepherding the people as God desired, they have shepherd themselves and have allowed the people to go astray. These shepherd will be punished.  Secondly, God will shepherd his people properly, bringing them back to the truth and right living of the covenant with him.

He will appoint shepherds who will be true to their call.


Thirdly, we have the prophecy concerning a future Savior, one who will Shepherd God’s people properly. He will be of the house of David. He will save the people. His name is the Lord, our justice. We know that Jeremiah was prophesying about Jesus, who through his death and resurrection has brought justice and mercy into the world. As our justice, he gave his life for our life.


Gospel: Background: Jesus had sent the Apostles on their first missionary journey to preach the message of repentance, to cure the sick and to drive out demons. They came back excited by what they experienced. Jesus could see that they were exhausted. They had given their all in ministry. Out of compassion, like a good shepherd, he took them to a quiet place for some R & R.  But even there, people came for more ministry.


Jesus didn’t say come back tomorrow. He had compassion on the people for they were like sheep without a shepherd. They were lost; they were seeking the truth; they were hungry for ministry and care. Many were desperate. Like a Shepherd Jesus began to teach them many things.

Do you see the connection with the first reading? God says that his people were without good shepherds. He promised to care for them himself, to provide good shepherds for them. These are the Apostles and their successors. He promised a Savior. That is Jesus.


What follows the verses that said Jesus began to teach them is the multiplication of the loaves and the fish to feed them. Not only were they spiritually hungry for the word of truth, but now they were physically hungry. In our celebration today, we have been taught and nourished by the Word of God. Now, Jesus, the Shepherd, will feed us with his own Body and Blood, so that nourished by his Word and his Body and Blood we can continue our journey to him this week.


Reading 2: Paul picks us the theme of Jesus being our Lord and Savior. He has reconciled, not just Jews, but also the Gentiles. In other words, Jesus has reconciled all to God through his blood. Sin was the dividing wall between all and God and between one person and another. Jesus has united all to himself.  Instead of sin, Jesus preached love and peace. In and through Jesus we now have access to God in the Spirit. Universal salvation and the call for unity and not division is the road back to God.


Is there someone I am separated from because of some past hurt? If Jesus has reconciled us through the forgiveness of our sins, how can we choose to remain separated from the other, thinking we can still be close to God? As Jesus said, if you remember your brother has something against you, be reconciled and they come and offer your gift to God.


What did God say to you through these readings and reflections? 

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