CATHOLIC HOMILY FOR THE 16TH SUNDAY YEAR B
THEME: JESUS CHRIST, A TRUE SHEPHERD
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY: The Lord is our One and True Shepherd and He invites many men and women to collaborate with Him in the pasturing of His flock. Jesus Christ remains the absolute Model for our commitment and execution of this honourable task bestowed on us out of God’s benevolence. May all those in position of authority never lose sight of their true Model, Jesus Christ; Amen.
God’s love and care for all His creatures can never be over emphasized. This He has demonstrated in the history of His relationship with us, in the History of Salvation. He not only cares for His creatures directly by virtue of His omnipresence but He also involves men and women whom He chooses and empowers to act in His name and to be concrete signs of His presence in our midst. It must also be noted that some out of these many men and women chosen by God at some points were not true representatives of God as a result of their selfish choices and change of mindset from the mindset of the One who chose and sent them. They acted in ways that cannot be reconciled with the values they profess and became nuisance to the communities they were supposed to lead. In the words of the First Reading of today (Jer 23:1-6), “doom for the shepherds who allow the flock of my pasture to be destroyed and scattered.” A shepherd is called to be a point of unity and stability for the flock and never a point of discord and disintegration. Hence, God’s words of repudiation through the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah against the human shepherds He placed in charge of His flock is understandable because instead of leading the flock to the place of green pastures, they led them away to a place of anguish and disgrace. God’s intervention was a message of hope to the flock already broken by the ordeals of their experience of hunger and disconnection from the One True Shepherd, “see, the days are coming, it is the Lord who speaks, when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David.”
We are sons and daughters of this promised day of God who in Christ, the Son of David, has visited us and has repositioned us to the state of grace. In Christ the Good Shepherd, we see the face of God and the model for all those whom God has called to be human shepherds of His people. The attitude of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of today (Mk 6:30-34) is both formative, instructive and exemplary; “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.” Jesus remains the model for the true execution of every position of leadership. He is the Good and True Shepherd and under His pastoral leadership there is unity, peace, tranquility and reconciliation as we heard in the Second Reading (Eph 2:13-18). Every human shepherd, both in the Church and in the State is not his or her own. A true shepherd is always at the service of the flock. His or her self-worth lies in his or her selfless service for the good of the flock. His or her true self realization lies in his or her selflessness. This was the story of the apostles when they came back from their first missionary journey. They sounded much fulfilled for their positive impact in the lives of the flock. This has been the story of many thousands of successful men and women who followed Christ and His examples and made landmark achievements as human shepherds both in the Church and in the state. In our own days, faced with a booming trend of lack of direction in many segments of life, Jesus is inviting everyone who holds a position of leadership both in the Church and in the state to a steady focus and imitation of Him who is the way, the truth and the life.
May God bless all those in the position of authority with the grace to live after the mind of God following the example of Christ and acting by the power of the Holy Spirit; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE