Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 22, 2018
Adventure writer Jon Krakauer wrote Into Thin Air, a first-person account of the 1996 disaster on Mount Everest, when eight people lost their lives in one day. Fierce storms, exhaustion, and human limitations in Everest’s unforgiving environment led to the tragedy. In his gripping account, Krakauer describes how the crucial relationship between guide and client might mean the difference between life and death.
Even when not life-threatening, a mountain climb challenges a person emotionally, spiritually, as well as physically. Today’s Gospel invites us into another challenging environment–a desert wilderness–with Jesus as our shepherd and guide. We’re invited along with his disciples to “come and rest.”
Summer is a time when we seek out places of rest and leisure with our families, to “re-charge” and get new energy for our lives. Liturgically we’ll do something similar, starting next week. We’ll read from the Gospel of John for five weeks, from the section known as the “Bread of Life Discourse.” It shows Jesus as both our shepherd-guide, and our source of nourishment. Our Scriptures will help us understand better how he does this in the Eucharist. Along with leisurely reflection, we’ll also be challenged: Can we take the responsibility ourselves, to feed Christ’s people?