“They were like sheep without a shepherd.”
“Sheep without a shepherd.” This is the simple theme of today’s readings. It is interesting that Jesus’ reaction to the crowd is one of pity – as he sees their great thirst for his teachings. This is, in a sense, a clear fulfilment of the prophecy we hear in the first reading, where God promises a true shepherd who will care for the people of Israel. Shepherding is a particularly suitable image of God’s love and care. The dependency of the sheep on their shepherd, their wandering and drifting without someone to guide them, is also a suitable image of the people God loves. Our own age also displays sheep without shepherds ‑ a great wandering crowd, seeking something, but not knowing what they are seeking. It is to this flock that the present day followers of Jesus are sent as shepherds.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit. He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name. If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil will I fear. You are there with your crook and staff; with these you give me comfort. You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life. In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.
First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6
Second Reading: Ephesians 2: 13-18
Gospel Reading: Mark 6:30-34