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Sunday, July 23, 2000

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16th Sunday Ordinary Time

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

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changing shepherds

"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want." —Psalm 23:1

In the Old Testament, shepherds were not religious leaders but secular, political leaders. Thus, according to the Old Testament, our shepherds are the president, governors, senators, mayors, etc. The Lord promised to punish the shepherds of Israel for not caring for the sheep (Jer 23:2) and to replace them with a good shepherd, a king who "shall reign and govern wisely" (Jer 23:5). Jesus is that Good Shepherd-King (see Jn 10:14).

When Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd, He implied to the Jewish people that He was a political leader, possibly a king. Jesus' kingdom was not of this world (Jn 18:36), but very few people knew that. Therefore, when Jesus called Himself "the Good Shepherd," He was easily misunderstood as saying something political and revolutionary. This was part of the reason Jesus was crucified by the Roman government.

Even today, if you decide to follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd-King, you will be misunderstood. You will be misjudged to be a political threat to the government, especially as you proclaim international, socioeconomic freedom in Christ during this year of the Great Jubilee. Nevertheless, follow the Good Shepherd even to the cross of misunderstanding, rejection, and death.

Prayer:  Jesus, Good Shepherd, raise up godly political leaders.

Promise:  "He pitied them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them at great length." —Mk 6:34

Praise:  Praise the risen Jesus, the Good Shepherd, Who brings goodness and kindness all the days of our lives (Ps 23:6).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, December 16, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 1999