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Sunday, July 22 -- Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings:

- Is 49:1-6- Ps 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 14C-15- Acts 13:22-26- Lk 1:57-66, 80

St. Croix Sheep.

St. Croix Sheep.

Highlights

When Satan tries to pull the wool over your eyes, when ewe worry you're not being herd by those you love, when you find yourself ruminating over all your mistakes, when you seem to be holding on by your own shear strength, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, cud always give you rest if you would only flock to Him.

In the Gospel reading this weekend, the Twelve Apostles had just returned to the Lord after having gone out by twos casting out demons, healing the sick, and preaching repentance. 

They had such a successful mission that when they came back, Scripture says, "People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat" (Mk 6:31). 
Hungry and in need of respite after all their work, Jesus and His Apostles go off "to a deserted place [to] rest a while" (Mk 6:32). 

Jesus and the Apostles were not sheepish about their need to eat and sleep. We all need time away from the usual grind to take care of ourselves, reconnect with the Father, and regain our strength. 

So all 13 men board a boat and cross to the other side of a lake seeking solitude. But once the crowd sees them setting off, they run around the lake by shore and reach the other side before Jesus and the Apostles. 

Scripture says that when Jesus "saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them ... and he began to teach them many things" (Mk 6:34). 

Any ordinary person in Jesus' situation would have been annoyed. The crowds surely invaded Jesus' privacy, depriving Him of a chance to eat with His Apostles in peace. Still, instead of feeling resentment toward the crowd, Jesus feels pity for them, moved by their earnestness.

So instead of sending them away, He ministers to them. 

This Gospel reading compares the crowd to "sheep without a shepherd," a common reference throughout Scripture, especially in this week's readings. 

In perhaps the most well-known psalm, the psalmist says, "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me ... Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage" (Ps 23:1-4).

Left on their own, sheep become afraid -- lost and in need of sustenance with no protection. A good shepherd provides everything his flock needs.

As sheep ourselves, we can find all we need in Christ. 

Even if you feel as though you're walking through the shadow of death, try not to let yourself get discouraged. When you tremble at the sound of Satan's howling lies, entrust yourself to Jesus' loving protection with the same sincerity as the crowd in the Gospel reading. He will have pity on you and minister to your bleating heart. 

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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2018
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.


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