Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 23: 1-6; Psalm 23: 1-6; Mark 6: 30-34
The metaphors of sheep and shepherd can be helpful in understanding our nature, and that of our relationship with the Divine. We are creatures whose knowledge is limited. We can lose our way easily, and are always in need of guidance. The idea that God, and most especially Jesus, is the "Good Shepherd" leading us to paradise is so powerful, because it resonates in the core of our being. How could we get there without them? But there is danger in these metaphors as well. They can give us a sort of permission to abandon free will, and let others dictate our thoughts and actions. We must always evaluate potential shepherds with Jeremiah's words in mind, no matter their credentials. Where will they lead us? Never forget that metaphors are not reality. We are not sheep, but human beings, created in the image of our Divine Parent. Let us never aspire to be anything less.