Reflection for the 16th week in Ordinary Time – July 18, 2021

By Phyllis Chandler, Notre Dame Associate

The Responsorial for today’s liturgy is the familiar and much-loved 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd . . .” Both the first reading from Jeremiah and Mark’s gospel refer to God as the divine shepherd who watches over the flock.

The 23rd Psalm reminds us that the Lord is our shepherd who guides us along right paths, refreshes our souls, and leads us to restful waters, so that we may one day dwell in his heavenly home.

Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side . . .  Psalm 23:4

How reassuring it is to read or hear and reflect on these words, especially during today’s turbulent times.  We cannot pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV without being bombarded with information about violence and unrest in our country, often even in our local community.  At no time in recent history has there been such divisiveness.  It could become so easy to begin looking out only for ourselves and distrusting everyone.

Yet, as the “Body of Christ” we are called to love one another as God loves us.  We must continue to be the arms of Jesus and his heavenly father in today’s world.

I recently read a story about a grandmother who spontaneously bought a gift for a homeless child.  The little girl looked at her and asked, “Are you God?”  The woman replied, “No, but I am a child of God.”  To which the girl responded, “I knew there was a connection.”

In the days ahead, let us each look for ways to reach out to others so they too will see “a connection” between us and the Divine Shepherd.