16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading: Jer. 23:1–6

Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD. Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD.
    Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
        when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
    as king he shall reign and govern wisely,
        he shall do what is just and right in the land.
    In his days Judah shall be saved,
        Israel shall dwell in security.
    This is the name they give him:
        “The LORD our justice.”

Second reading: Eph. 2:13–18

Brothers and sisters: In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Gospel: Mk. 6:30–34

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

In other words Fr. Felix Ferrer, SVD (Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City)

The seventh habit of highly effective people, according to Dr. Stephen Covey, is “Sharpening the Saw.” Sharpening the saw means “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have—you.” It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Here are some examples of activities:

Physical: beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/emotional: making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental: learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual: spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service

In short, there is always a need for “renewal” after every form of service. Accordingly, Dr. Covey continues, “renewal is the principle—and the process—that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.”

In the Gospel today, Jesus tells his disciples, “You come apart into a deserted place, and rest awhile.” Jesus sees that the apostles are weary after their busy mission tour, and invites them to a place of solitude where they can rest. Soon Jesus will have compassion on the crowd, but first, he has compassion on his apostles, who have no time even to eat. Discipleship must balance time for service with time for physical and spiritual renewal.

To us who play ministerial roles in society, have time to “sharpen the saw” to be more effective.

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