Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jul 27, 2009

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

July 19, 2009


Jeremiah 23:1-6

Ephesians 2:13-18

Mark 6:30-34


July 18: Nelson Mandela's birthday

July 19: Lailat al-Miraj (Ascension of the Prophet in Islam)


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 for the church.

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 be not 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?

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

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?

Actions - Links

Rights of Workers

In June, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released Respecting the Just Rights of Workers: Guidance and Options for Catholic Health Care and Unions. The document can be found on the USCCB Web site at:

CatholicRelief Services Action Center

CRS encourages us to advocate in support of people in need throughout the world.  Check out their center at:

Caritas in Veritate ("Charity in truth")

Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical, was signed by the Holy Father on June 29, 2009 and was released to the public on Tuesday, July 7. It is available at:

"Crazy facts"

In 1980 the top one percent of earners took about 10% of national income.

In 2004 the top one percent of earners took home about 22 % of national income.

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 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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