Sixteen Sunday in Ordinary time (B)

Leaders should serve their people

       I can feel with you the heat behind the following words in the first readying of this Sunday: "Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture ... I will take care to punish your evil deeds, says the Lord." Jeremiah 23:1-6  The term "woe" is literary form, which originated in funeral celebrations. This means that the Lord, in the mind of the people of the Old Testament will punish with death, the persons who do not follow his commandments. Of course at that time everything was punishable many times with death. In the Bible we find this many times. That was the culture of these people. God will punish king Zedekiah (597-586 B.C) because he was a mere puppet in the hands of his advisors. His weakness will precipitate the fall of Jerusalem. This king was taking care of himself and was trying only to please his advisors. That is why the Lord would raise up a new leader who would understand the needs of service and govern with wisdom and justice, and punish the one who will disobey God.

The psalm will come to confirm what this first reading will state: "You have not scattered my sheep and driven them away ...I myself will gather the remnant of my flock." The psalm will remind us that the "Lord is my shepherd".

       In the second reading and the Gospel we find the same message. Jesus will establish new shepherds who will take care of the flock. The Old Testament shepherds have scattered his flock. He will extend their mission to the whole world (the second reading) and the Gentiles of yesterday will be the children of today. "In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ" Ephesians 2:13

       "The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught" Mark 6:30. On the reading of last Sunday we read: "The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them" Mark 6:13        To lead is to serve our best for others. The leaders in Jeremiah and Jesus readings of today took good care of them selves. That is why the word of God in today's mass will say: "I will appoint shepherds who will shepherd my people so that they need no longer fear and tremble and none shall be missing". And Jesus feeling for the crowd "for they were like sheep without a shepherd" will appoint his apostles as shepherds. Mark 6:30-34        Parents, teachers, priests, superior, employer, boss, chairman or woman, president, congress, senators ... are leaders so as to serve. If they look for what is good for them and forget the common good and do not see their positions in terms of others they scatter and mislead the flock.

"Authority without wisdom is like a heavy ax without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish" Says Anne Bradstreet.

And Nelson A. Rockefeller says: "The nourishing of the American system requires a sense of responsibility, not only on the part of individual citizens, but especially on the part of America's leadership. I am not speaking alone of political leaders, but of the leaders of all phases of our society as well. To the extend that they do not exercise their power and influence in the direction of the common good, they are undermining the very system that has given them that power and influence.

What kind of leader are you?