‘We are his people, the sheep of his flock.’ This week’s liturgy reminds us of who we are and to whom we belong, what has been done for us, and then how we might feel drawn to respond. For the people of Israel, relations with neighboring tribes always offered tempting religious alternatives.
The Exodus story in the first reading was a constant reminder of their covenant with God, in which the whole nation was called to be made holy. St Paul, in the second reading, writes to the Christians in Rome and teaches 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. That is also a sentiment echoed in the Psalm – that 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 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 ‘laborers’ on the ground to reach every ‘lost sheep.’
This week let us pray that we ponder: are there tempting alternatives getting in the way of my own covenantal relationship with the Lord? What has God done for me? What is God doing for me? And what will God do for me? In what ways am I able to labor alongside Christ in today’s world?
Joy and peace.