Jeremiah reminds his readers that the special shepherd-like love, with which God led the people of the first covenant, is to be the model for those charged with pasturing others. He describes that the future pastor king would be a righteous shoot, an authentic leader and, a true shepherd to whom the people could entrust themselves.
The rebukes of today’s reading can be addressed to any leader today who fails to exercise authority with faithfulness to God. It gives us hope, believing that God has raised up in the person of Jesus one who can truly rule with divine justice.
In the gospel (Mark 6:30-34) the righteous, authentic and true shepherd – Jesus, prepares his disciples to be future shepherds. Last Sunday in the gospel we heard that Jesus sent the apostles two by two with specific instruction. The first exercise, practical lesson, by the new missionaries, the team of new shepherds were very exciting. They were excited about all that happened and were eager to share their experiences with Jesus. Jesus was also well aware of their need for rest and relaxation. That could also be an opportunity to refresh and renew physically and spiritually, also to evaluate how they performed their mission. People who experienced their care and service were more excited that they sought them after. Jesus recognizes the need of the people for shepherds; he provided them and continues to provide.
St. Paul sees the Church as a new creation, in which those nations who were once far off from God are joined as “one new person.” Through the Church, our good shepherd still leads people to the verdant pastures of the kingdom. Be part of that mission, approach the good shepherd in faith, and he will provide for our needs.