Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, 18th June 2023

‘We are his people, the sheep of his flock’

This week’s liturgy reminds us of who we are, whose we are, what has been done for us, and then, how we might feel drawn to respond.

For the people of Israel, relations with neighbouring tribes always offered tempting religious alternatives. The Exodus story (First Reading) was a constant reminder of their covenant with God, in which the whole nation was called to be made holy.

St Paul writes to the Christians in Rome, teaching that their concerns should not, ultimately, be about what they are doing for God, but about what God has done, and is doing, for them. (Second Reading)

That is also a sentiment echoed in this week’s Psalm – we, the sheep, are beneficiaries of a Good Shepherd who made us, who loves us, who is faithful to us, and to whom we belong.

St Matthew (Gospel) portrays Jesus as the compassionate shepherd of his suffering people. Jesus is concerned not only with their spiritual and practical needs, but also about ensuring there are enough ‘labourers’ on the ground to reach every ‘lost sheep’.

As I pray this week, I might ponder: are there tempting alternatives getting in the way of my own covenantal relationship with the Lord? What has God done for me …. is God doing for me … will God do for me? How is my relationship with the Good Shepherd, to whom I belong? In what ways am I able to labour alongside Christ in today’s world?