YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: LEADING AFTER THE MIND OF CHRIST: A RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL CHRISTIANS.
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi.
GOSPEL: MARK 6:30-34
… ” his heart was moved with compassion for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:34.
My dearest Children of God, today’s readings reminds us that we are partners with God in the work of shepherding his flock and we are all called to use our God given authorities and positions in life to guide and guard others in truth and fidelity to God whose work we all participate in.
In terms of infrastructural development, so much have been done or not quite much for some others. Many Governments ,Churches and organisations have erected multi billion structures. Scientists have made amazing discoveries that brought about solutions to diverse problems affecting man.Technology has even tried to automate almost everything to the extent of displacing man with robots in various fields of life( many lost their Jobs because automated machines has taken over). All these has contributed in no mean measure to enhancing the life of the human person in society, but at the same time has created so much problems. The problem is that we have lost focus. Priorities has been misplaced and we need to re-prioritize our values. We have shifted from human beings to things and society is fast disintegrating. We are building up structures and not human being. Let me ask, of what use are all these monumental structures if the human person as God’s creature is not first taken care of. What benefit is beautifying a church if the pastoral life and faith of the people does not look as beautiful as their church. What is the essence of building roads and stadiums if people can’t have access to quality healthcare and education?. Is Science and Technology really doing so well in giving the human person a positive value or destroying the values that makes him/her human.
*JESUS OUR SHEPHERD , LEADER AND EXAMPLE.*
In spite of being so busy and need to rest from work, Jesus still had time to teach the people. Why? because he had compassion for them, seeing that they don’t have a sense of direction because they have no one to lead or guide them. The mission of Jesus and His apostles are anthropocentric(centred on man and woman) Nothing more is more valuable than the welfare of the human person. When we shift our focus from this, every Other effort is wasted. Jesus was moved with Compassion, (some translations will say pity) to the situation of the people. Derived from ‘Cum’(with ) and ‘passio’( suffering or passion) _compassion means to “suffer with”. Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another and themselves._ Compassion is often regarded as having sensitivity to the sufferings of another. This is what is basically lacking in modern day leadership. Look at our most of leaders in government, they embezzle and loot and leave the people hungry, jobless and hopeless. We praise them for monumental structures but what about the welfare of the people. In the Religious cycle I shed tears for many Pastors who milk the “cows”, and we praise them for building structures. What about us, how much have we contributed in our various professions and positions of authority to the welfare of the people. Employers do you use your employees as machines or humans?. Is the dignity of the human person still respected?. Parents are you still doing your work as shepherds? Why are your children wandering aimlessly on the streets typical of sheeps with a shepherd. Have your jobs taken over the attention the children deserves. I shed tears each day I stroll down the street seeing people dress and live like no one has ever advised or cautioned them. I wonder still if being an adult guarantees a person to live above correction or direction of anyone. We all have so much to do. Many need direction. Like Jesus let’s continue teaching people with Compassion and love the knowledge of God because many are perishing for lack of knowledge. ( c.f.. Hoses 4:6)
In the first reading from Jeremiah 23:1-6, the prophet Jeremiah (6th B.C.), thunders against Israel’s careless leaders – the king, some priests and some court prophets – because they have shown no concern for the poor. The prophet also foretells the rise of a good, new shepherd in the family line of David. Today God is still lamenting over the leaders; Priest, Presidents, Governors, Lawyers, Professors, Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, employers, Kings etc. who has scattered, misguided, driven away the people entrusted to them. God promised through Jeremiah to raise a righteous shoot to David and He shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. Jesus is the fulfilment of this Prophecy. *He invites us too my dearest people of God to govern wisely wherever we have people placed under our care, doing what is just and right to ensure that their welfare and security is assured* . If we can imitate or follow closely in the footsteps of Jesus and eschew personal and selfish interests and ambitions, the world will be a better place. There is so much insecurity, hunger, robbery, poverty, homelessness, killing in the Land because the leaders have refused to do something wise. Don’t forget God through Jeremiah says that He will take time to punish those bad leaders, so don’t think you can get away with your crimes , God is watching and is coming.
Let us as St Paul tells us in the second reading to imitate Jesus who through his blood reconciled Jews and gentiles, preaching peace to those who are far off and those who are near. *We are all agents of this peace in society. Let us embrace it, doing all we can as God’s children, leaders, prophets, priests and Kings to break down the barriers of prejudice, enmity and discrimination among us.* Let us seek to reconcile with everyone and leave more harmoniously.
We need God’s grace to become good shepherds: *The Christian life is a continuous passage from the presence of God to the presence of people and back again.* Prayer is essentially listening to God and talking to Him. We should allow God the opportunity to speak to us and recharge us with spiritual energy and strength by setting aside enough time for Him to speak to us and for us to speak to Him. He speaks to us powerfully when we spend some time every day reading the Bible devoutly and meditating on the message God gives us. We receive strength from God to do our share of the shepherd’s preaching and healing ministry by praying to Him individually, in the family and as a community, in the parish Church participating in the Eucharistic celebration. The Church has the double responsibility of teaching and feeding: There can be no true Christianity without the proclamation of the Gospel. Teaching the Word of God is essential to a Christian community. Christians must also display the compassion of Jesus by meeting the social and material needs of others by our works of charity as individual Christians and as a parish community.
May we become true shepherds after the mind of Christ. May the experience of living for others, renew us with God’s amazing grace and may we find fulfilment in the work of leading others to Christ.
I keep you and your family always in my Prayers.
Clem C. Aladi.