Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jul 16, 2012

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary reflections for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time- July 22, 2012


Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]
July 22, 2012


Jeremiah 23:1-6
Ephesians 2:13-18
Mark 6:30-34


July 18: Nelson Mandela’s birthday
July 20: Ramadan (Muslim Holy Month) begins (in North America Ramadan starts on the 21st)
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

... 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

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.  


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?
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 deMello, The Heart of the Enlightened,

Actions - Links

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

Catholic Relief Services Action Center
CRS encourages us to advocate in support of people in need throughout the world and confront global poverty.  Check out their center at:

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
“Our office serves Maryknoll missioners by providing analysis and advocacy on justice and peace issues that affect the communities where Maryknollers live and work.”

“Crazy facts”

“There are more slaves in the world today -- more than 30 million -- than any other point in human history. Why? The problem is poverty. Where most trafficked individuals come from, 50 to 60% of the population lives on US$1 a day. Communities lacking economic opportunities and resources become hotbeds for exploitation.”
See also

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, and a decent place to live, 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

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