News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th July 2021: The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
There's a lot of sheep and shepherding analogies going on in this Sunday's readings. If you are able to get out into the countryside as the weather improves over the next few days, there's certainly something quite mesmerising watching a shepherd or shepherdess herding his or her sheep across the hillsides. David, to whom this Sunday's Responsorial Psalm is attributed, was himself a shepherd when he faced up to Goliath and the Philistines. His words, often thought to be one of the most well-known texts in the Bible, are emotive: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”
Jesus acknowledges this as he steps ashore from the boat, as we hear in the Good News from Mark's Gospel:
“he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.”
Do you recall how Jesus described himself in the Good News from John's Gospel? “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” (John 10: 14)
Without the shepherd, a flock of sheep is aimless; drifting around with no specific purpose or aim (other than to eat!). Jesus gives us direction, purpose and guidance. We do not need to wander in the pastures “to be destroyed and scattered”, as described in the Book of Jeremiah. Jesus calls us to be his flock, his followers, his disciples – and by the grace of God and guided by the Holy Spirit, let each one of us “dwell in the house of the Lord for ever and ever.”
The first Mass of Sunday is on Saturday 17th July at 6.00pm. The Parish Mass is on Sunday 18th at 10.30am. There will be changes to the Covid restrictions from Monday 19th July, but as Fr Edward states on the Pew Sheet – he is still advocating the wearing of masks in church. Sensible precautions such as hand sanitising, social distancing and refraining from close contact may no longer be compulsory, but the Coronavirus still maintains a significant presence in our communities and we must be cautious as the responsibility is placed upon each one of us to self-regulate. Please stay safe and well, and protect yourself and others.