Lectionary Reflections: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [b] July 19, 2015

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jul 13, 2015

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

July 19, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern


Jeremiah 23:1-6

Ephesians 2:13-18

Mark 6:30-34



July 17: Eid al-Fitr, Muslim Holiday, end of Ramadan (Muslim Holy Month)

July 18: Nelson Mandela’s birthday

July 22: Feast of Mary of Magdala



We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.

-Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions

 Human beings too are creatures of this world, enjoying a right to life and happiness, and endowed with unique dignity. So we cannot fail to consider the effects on people’s lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture.

-Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 43 

... Whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury.

-Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, 27

If an authentic economic order is to be established on a worldwide basis, an end will have to be put to profiteering, to national ambitions, to the appetite for political supremacy, to militaristic calculations, and to machinations for the sake of spreading and imposing ideologies.

-Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, 85

Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.

-Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 1

Our openness to others, each of whom is a “thou” capable of knowing, loving and entering into dialogue, remains the source of our nobility as human persons.

-Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 119


Thoughts for your consideration

Catholic Social Teaching strongly affirms the dignity of every human person. 

Today’s scriptures reinforce the church’s call to minister in a caring, respectful way to all of God’s people. Jeremiah speaks of shepherds who will work for the good of the people “so that they need no longer fear and tremble, and none shall be missing.”  Paul speaks of Christ who “broke down the dividing wall of enmity.”  Jesus “saw the vast crowd and his heart was moved with pity for them.”  People matter. Individuals and their needs matter.  Those in need are of a special concern.

God invites us to work to promote values that care for and respect all God’s people, especially those who are poor or struggling with any special need.  People must not be lost in the concerns and pressures of our institutions, structures and ideologies.  Economics must be “economics as if people mattered.”  Politics must be a politics that empowers people.  Institutions must be people-centered.  Policies must support the efforts of individuals to create a more just society.  The recent encyclical, Laudato Si, even reminded us to include the earth itself in the care and respect.


In what sense are the people of our world “like sheep without a shepherd?” 

What are the social issues that call for leadership and courage? 

  • Integrity and transparency in government? 
  • A more just delivery of medical services to people in need? 
  • An end to the fighting and terrorism in our world? 
  • Better education for all our children? 
  • Justice wages for working people?
  • Employment for everyone?
  • A more responsible media?
  • Care for the environment?

The world needs shepherds who can identify the critical social issues and can address these critical issues of our day.


When have our shepherds (bishops, priests, even laity for we all have a call to be shepherds) in the church not been faithful to the call to defend and promote the dignity of human beings?

  • In the history of the “sexual abuse crisis” in the church?
  • In their promotion of the social teaching of the church?
  • In the way they make use of money and material resources?


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

The scriptures remind us of our need for good shepherds. 

  • When are you frustrated by poor shepherding or leadership in our church and our society? 
  • When are you encouraged by good shepherding or leadership in our church and our society? 


  • In your personal experience, what person is a powerful example for you of someone who really cares for people in a loving and respectful way?



“A family settled down for dinner at a restaurant. The waitress first took the order of the adults, and then turned to the seven-year-old. 'What will you have,” she asked.

The boy looked around the table timidly and said, 'I would like to have a hot dog.' Before the waitress could write down the order, [one of the parents] interrupted. 'No hot dogs,' [the parent] said. 'Get him a steak with mashed potatoes and carrots.'

The waitress ignored the parent. 'Do you want ketchup or mustard on your hot dog?' she asked the boy.


'Coming up in a minute,' said the waitress as she started for the kitchen.

There was a stunned silence when she left. Finally the boy looked at everyone present and said, 'Know what? She thinks I'm real!'”  

From Anthony de Mello, The Heart of the Enlightened


Actions – Links

The One Campaign

Ten years ago in Scotland, G8 leaders met and made eight promises to address poverty.  How did they do?  Check out this summary:

Not for Sale

The Not for Sale Campaign seeks to abolish slavery in our era.  For info about this issue go to:

Sign on Letter of Support for Laudato Si 

Speech of Pope Francis in Bolivia on the rights of the poor and other concerns


“Crazy facts”

  • The United Nations estimates that roughly 27 to 30 million individuals are currently caught in the slave trade industry. The Global Slavery Index 2013 states that 10 nations account for 76 per cent of the world's enslaved. India has the most slaves of any country, at 14 million (over 1% of the population).


Prayers of Intercession

Response: Lord, lead us on the road to justice.

For our church, that we will courageously speak up for the poor, we pray….

For our church, that we will be a community where the gifts and special needs of all are honored and respected, we pray….

For our church, that our behavior inside and outside the church will respect the rights and human needs of all, we pray….

For our nation, that our political leaders will be focused on the common good of all our citizens, especially the poor, we pray….

For our nation, that we will find a way for everyone to have quality health care, access to good education, a decent place to live, and a community of acceptance and respect for all, we pray…..

For our world community, that we will find a way to stop destroying our environment, we pray….

For our world community, that we will find ways to bring an end to war and preparation for war and that we will find ways for all nations to live in peace, we pray….


Prayer - Meditation 

“Oh God, give me the courage and

strength to be worthy of being called

a Christian."

~ Karl Rahner, SJ


Lord, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it.

Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures.

Help us to become instruments of a new creation, 

founded on the covenant of your love.

This prayer is from:


Lord, we pray for the power to be gentle; the strength to be forgiving; the patience to be understanding; and the endurance to accept the consequences of holding to what we believe to be right. May we put our trust in the power of good to overcome evil and the power of love to overcome hatred. We pray for the vision to see and the faith to believe in a world emancipated from violence, a new world where fear shall no longer lead men to commit injustice, nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.

Help us to devote our whole life and thought and energy to the task of making peace, praying always for the inspiration and the power to fulfill the destiny for which we and all men were created.

This prayer is from: