Homily for the 16th  Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year B

The Lord will Redeem, Reunify and Restore Us

Readings: 1stJer 23, 1-6; Ps:  23; 2ndEph 2, 13-18; Gos: Mk 6, 30-34

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

(https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8452-8392)

Today is the sixteenth Sunday of ordinary time. This Sunday’s readings’ central theme is the redemption, reunification, and 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 prophecy. That is, a prophecy 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.

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Hence, this first reading bears severe warming against all rulers, priests or pastors, parents, directors, governors, presidents, and indeed, anyone in a leadership position which, out of negligence and indifference, has allowed his people to go astray or suffer. The Lord says, “I will take care of you for your deeds!” This simply means that judgment is coming.

Second and most important, there is good news. It is a message of the hope for God’s people redemption and restoration. Christ is the righteous 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 prophecy has been fulfilled in Christ.

He has already begun this redemptive work through his self-immolation. He will continue it until the end of time when he finally restores 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 is 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 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. Christ does not keep quiet over our conditions. He sees and knows that negligent shepherds have abandoned us.

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Thousands of lives have been lost through dangerous land and sea border crossings. Today’s global 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 to obey Christ’s teachings and instructions 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!

Maranatha!

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