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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, July 22, 2012

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

July 22, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle B. Readings:

1) Jeremiah 23:1-6

Psalm 23:1-6

2) Ephesians 2:13-18

Gospel: Mark 6:30-34

As I sit here looking out the front window of my home, I listen to a video running in the background on my laptop, featuring Father Robert Barron, creator of the much-acclaimed "Catholicism" series that aired last fall.

Father Barron is going through the Scriptures, outlining Jesus' claims to his position of authority as the Son of God and our savior. Father Barron goes on to outline how the values of Christianity underlie the respect for human rights that characterize our own and other democratic societies.

This week's Gospel shows us Jesus arriving by boat at the shoreline of a lake crowded with great numbers of people waiting for his arrival and with it, his life-changing words and his healing touch.

As he disembarks, Jesus sees the vast crowd, and his heart is moved with pity for them "for they were like sheep without a shepherd."

Father Barron didn't disembark from a boat and see great numbers of people starved for the word of God and a meaning of the transcendent. But he did respond to a sense of crisis in our world that motivated him to start his Word on Fire ministry (www.wordonfire.org) to evangelize contemporary culture.

His bishop, Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, had asked him to see how he could contribute to that massive task. Cardinal George had himself been responding to a quote of Pope Paul VI from "On Evangelization in the Modern World": "Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses."

So it was that a Catholic seminary professor stepped out into the great desert of the electronic world as St. Paul stepped into the public square of Athens, the Agora, where he approached the monument to "the unknown god."

Father Barron, in his turn, stepped out into a virtual world populated not by crowds gathered in one place, but primarily by individuals tinted by the glow of television and computer screens. He sought to help them learn more deeply of the Savior who came to bring them joy and abundant life through the proper ordering of their lives, through the example of the one who laid down his life for his friends. His goal: to reunite these scattered sheep with their shepherd.


Are there words I can speak to my friends, to those in my workplace and home, those who may have lost sight of the God of love and reconciliation, to help them remember that Jesus came to bring us joy and abundant life? How can I show them that love in my own example?


"His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd." -- Mark 6:34


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