A royal mess Print E-mail
Sunday scripture column

Kevin Perrotta

Sunday, July 22
Sixteenth Sunday
in Ordinary Time

Jer 23:1-6
Psalm 23:1-6
Eph 2:13-18
Mk 6:30-34

In today's first reading, Jeremiah promises that God will send a new king, a new "shepherd," to his people. In the Gospel, Mark signals the fulfillment of this promise by telling us that the people around Jesus were like "sheep without a shepherd." By acting as their shepherd, Jesus showed he is the promised king.

But it can't have looked that way at the time.

Jesus was traveling along the lakeshore where his disciples lived and fished, and huge crowds were following him because of his power to heal. It was chaos. Jesus and the disciples couldn't even sit down for a meal. At one point, he was in danger of being crushed to death. His disciples -- and undoubtedly Jesus himself -- were driven to exhaustion.

How could anyone who saw this mob scene have known that here the divinely appointed king had come?

Jeremiah predicted a king who would "do what is just and right." "Right and just" often stand for what we would call "social justice." For example, Jeremiah delivered this message to a king: "Do what is right and just. Rescue the victims from the hand of their oppressors. Do not wrong or oppress the resident alien, the orphan, or the widow" (Jer 22:3).

As another example, long-suffering Job recalled his happy life as a time when he did what is just and right:

"I rescued the poor who cried out for help, the orphans, and the unassisted; The blessing of those in extremity came upon me, and the heart of the widow I made joyful. I wore my righteousness like a garment; justice was my robe and my turban. ... I was a father to the poor; the complaint of the stranger I pursued" (Job 29:12-14, 16).

So Jeremiah was predicting a king who would lead society into care for the weak and the needy. And that is just what Jesus did. He had "compassion" for the poor and powerless people who came to him in need of healing and even food.

The turbulent scene on the lakeshore reminds me of the crowds of migrants pressing around Pope Francis when he visited their deplorable camps on the Mediterranean islands of Lampedusa and Lesbos. Nothing there looked like the coming of God's kingdom. And yet ...

Reflection Question:

What messy situation in your life is an opportunity to share in the coming of God's kingdom to someone in need?

Kevin Perrotta is the editor and an author of the Six Weeks With the Bible series, teaches part time at Siena Heights University, and leads Holy Land pilgrimages. He lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Pope's July Prayer Intention Print E-mail
In 2018, the Pope will present one prepared prayer intention per month, rather than two.
Pope's July Prayer Intention

Evangelization: Priests and their Pastoral Ministry
That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and
comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.

Daily Scripture Readings Print E-mail
Sunday, Sep. 01, 2013 -- 10:21 AM
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Scripture readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
Holy Days of Obligation Print E-mail

The following are Holy Days of Obligation for 2018.

Holy Days of Obligation Description
Monday, Jan. 1
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Sunday, May 13
Ascension Thursday
Wednesday, Aug. 15
Solemnity of the Assumption
Thursday, Nov. 1
All Saints Day
Saturday, Dec. 8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Tuesday, Dec. 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Prayer to St. Raphael Print E-mail

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.


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