The Lord Will Redeem, Reunify and Restore Us
Readings: 1st: Jer 23, 1-6; Ps: 23; 2nd: Eph 2, 13-18; Gos: Mk 6, 30-34
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today is the sixteenth Sunday of ordinary time. A very important and central theme to the readings of this Sunday is, the redemption, reunification and the restoration of God’s people So, this Sunday, the church invites us to celebrate Christ, the true king and compassionate shepherd who redeems and restores his people to the Father.
Our first reading is a messianic prophesy. That is, a prophesy about the coming of Christ, the messiah. The scattering of a people is a sign that something has gone wrong. It is a sign of bad leadership and system failure. So like sheep without a shepherd the poor masses have to scatter in search of survival. This is the image we see all over the world today.
Hence, this first reading bears a serious warming against all rulers, priest or pastors, parents, directors, governors, presidents and indeed, anyone in leadership position who out of negligence and indifference has allow his people to go astray and suffer. The Lord says, “I will take care of you for your deeds!” This simply means that judgement is coming.
Second and most important, there is good news. It is a message of the hope of the redemption and restoration of God’s people (the remnants of Israel). Christ is the virtuous branch from the line of David. He is the true Davidic king who has come to find and save the lost people of God. In other words, this prophesy has been fulfilled in Christ.
He has already begun this redemptive work through his self-immolation. He will continue it till the end of time, when he will finally restore all things to His Father. Then, the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power (1 Cor 15: 24).
In the second reading, Paul reminds us that: “…You that used to be so far apart have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ.” This simply means that Christ is the fulfillment of the messianic prophecy. He is our peace and has broken down the barrier which used to keep us apart. Through his sacrifice, he has reunified us with God.
In the gospel, Christ also demonstrated that he is that promised Davidic king and good shepherd. He will not rest until our souls and our land is completely healed and restored to his Father. This was why he had to terminate his vacation in order to attend to his people.
As a compassionate and wise king, Jesus knows our situation. He is doing something about it and, will not rest until we are redeemed and restored to God. He does not keep quiet over our situations. He sees and knows that we have been abandoned by negligent shepherds.
Thousands of lives have been lost through dangerous land and sea border crossings. Today’s world-wide immigration problem is a sign of leadership and system failure. The human shepherds of our nations have all failed God and all of us. However, the good news is that God will restore us. He will repair the broken elements of our land.
This is a message of hope for all passing through all forms of political, social and economic crisis. We simply need obey the Christ’s teachings and instructions in order to be redeemed and restored to his Father. Trusting Christ our king and shepherd, let us always proclaim without ceasing: “The Lord is my shepherd. There is nothing I shall want!”
Peace be with you!