As I read and pondered the readings for this Sunday, I had many thoughts cross my mind:
In the first reading, as the prophet Jeremiah writes, “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture,” says the Lord. God then goes on to promise to gather up the remnant of the flock and appoint a good shepherd, David to do “what is right and just in the land.” Here David obviously prefigures Jesus, who will later be the perfect Shepherd, our salvation. I think of this reading in modern terms. There are many people searching for truth. At our conception, God stamps on our hearts the desire to know Him who is all Truth. Evil has confused and scattered many in God’s flock of today. Some search for this truth in bad relationships, in bars, in work, in New Age religious practices, or in materialism… They have been led astray. I don’t know about you, but with all of the talk of end times (remember – The Father alone knows the day and the hour – Matthew 24:36), I feel an urgency to help Jesus rescue the lost sheep. How can I be the most effective instrument of God?
I happened to watch the Mother Theresa movie yesterday. Mother Theresa said so many wise things. When asked about being God’s instrument, she said this,” “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” How was she so wise? Each morning, Mother arose at 4 a.m. for adoration and prayer. She said that she never could have done the very difficult (and frankly sometimes disgusting) work she did, if she had not allowed God to fill her each day. In other words, you can’t give what you don’t have.
That brings us to the gospel reading. Jesus advises his apostles who were extremely busy with the task of spreading the good news, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” Jesus knew that they could not give what they did not have. He knew that they needed time to allow God to refresh and to fill them. We must do the same. It is not a luxury as a servant of God, but a requirement. If we have to schedule our “retreat” time each day, then we have to schedule it. It takes discipline to be a good disciple. (I’m talking to myself here!) Sometimes, with three children, the only quiet time I can squeeze out is a bath. I have found the bathtub to be a great place to rest awhile, conscious of God’s presence – to talk to Him and then to listen.
I love the last paragraph of the gospel that says, Jesus “saw the vast crowd,” and that His “heart was moved with pity for them.” Our Lord is so good. St. Augustine says, “God loves each of us as though there were only one of us.” This is the Good Shepherd that the world needs to know! Let’s still the waters of our soul in order to gaze at our reflection – to contemplate the parts of us that need healing or work, and to see that we were made in God’s awesome image. Then, let’s get out there and let the world know “How Great is Our God!”
If you would like to learn about how I have come to recognize the loving hand of God in my life, please consider reading “God Messaging…Will You Accept His Friend Request.” If you have been hurt as a child by abuse or neglect of any kind – If you have ever wondered, “Where was God when I was scared and hurting,” then consider reading “Hope for Healing,” where I share what has brought me out of the darkness of my own childhood into the light of Christ’s peace. It’s available in Kindle and paperback.
May God bless you and give you His peace. May He light a fire in you – a passion for sharing His light and love in your corner of the world!