Fr. Jolly’s Homily for Sunday, July 22, 2018

Mark 6 30-34 ( 16th Sunday)

 

In the Baltimore Catechism there is a beautiful question: why did God make you? The answer is: God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven. The reason for your existence in this world is therefore to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world. So these three things come first in the life of a Christian and all other things come after these primary reasons.

In the Gospel reading we heard mark telling: “Sheep without a shepherd,” This is an interesting term.  The word, “without” may seem obvious to us but it has a very complex background.  Mark actually uses two words for without: Me and Echo. Together, these words mean; “to have no ability or knowledge.”  That is the reason why Jesus felt sorry for his people. The people of Israel-the very children of God- the chosen people whom God set aside solely as his people, now have no clue about God. That is when Jesus felt sorry for them. In today’s vernacular sometimes people are “clueless” about God. You may be an engineer, a medical Doctor, priest, preacher, teacher, pilot and so on. But you may not have much clue about God whom you are supposed to know better than all these other things; because the reason for your existence is basically to know and love God. This is when Jesus feels sorry for you and me!

The image I get when I read this description is of the increasing crime rate in the streets of our society.  Life in our society is getting complex and complicated everyday with Increasing Social problems like crimes and gangs, juvenile suicide, drugs and alcohol use and irresponsible sexual behaviors and increasing fatherless children. If the situation goes like this we will be completely lost. The society will totally be like sheep without a shepherd.

 

The gospel of mark comments about Gods own people:  they were like sheep without a shepherded. What happened to their shepherds? Where were their shepherds?  Where were those who could organize, direct, or give vision to the lost sheep of Israel? Materialism, consumerism, individualism and the other similar isms can take us from the right direction and put us into trouble. It is consistently the matter of condemnation by the prophets of every age.

Children are going astray, Christians are leaving the church, and the morality is getting worse.  It is more than obvious that a heavy contributor to the problem is a lack of leadership; Parents are doing a poor job of parenting. Without guidance, we tend to go our own way. Israel’s fall was due to a lack of guidance.  This is our challenge and mission today; be a good shepherd in our society and family. Just think about the qualities of a good shepherd! Shepherds watch over the flock; guarding them from harm. As parents do you watch over your children guarding them from both spiritual and physical dangers? Remember, when you guard, spiritual comes first than physical. Shepherds feed the flock. Of course we feed our children with good food! But do you feed them spiritually with family prayer and spiritual instructions? In Ephesians 6:4 St. Paul asks the parents to instruct your children.  And finally Shepherds lead the flock.  As parents do you lead your children with good examples?

Here’s a story from the desert tradition: A brother had committed a fault and was called before the council. The council invited the respected Abba Moses to join. He took a leaking jug, filled it with water and carried it with him to the council. They saw him coming with the jug leaving a trail of water, and asked, “What’s this?” Abba Moses said, “My sins run out behind me and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the error of another?” When the council heard these words they forgave the brother.

The problem with society is not abortion, pornography, or homosexuality. The problem is not those who actively or passively encourage such things, or the laws that permit them, or media bias, or public apathy. The real problem is the spiritual power of darkness. When people walk away from the Living God, there are not only spiritual consequences; there are also moral and social consequences.

Brothers and sisters, when the apostles came to Jesus with all these problems Jesus said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while. If you spend half an hour with the Lord every day as a family, I tell you, you will feel the difference in your personal life, in your family and also in the society.