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August 17

FOCUS:    God cares for his people with compassion and generosity.

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In today’s readings, one very strong theme emerges: God calls us to take care of everyone!   Whether by using the prophet to admonish the “shepherds of Israel,” or by Jesus telling the parable of the generous landowner, we are being taught of our call to love others, everyone, in a real and tangible way.


In the time of the prophet Ezekiel, the Jewish leaders were taking advantage of their followers.  Rather than caring for them as true shepherds, they were profiting from the goods of others and failed to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of those who sought their help and guidance.  When power and position are used for personal gain, eventually failure and loss will result.  The most tragic loss will be to lose the joy of eternal life in heaven.


The parable of the generous landowner often brings criticism about the apparent lack of justice experienced by those who worked the full day.  But our focus shouldn’t be on getting what we deserve as compared to others.  Rather, we should be happy to receive our just wages, and that others are able to benefit from the generosity of others.


Do you see yourself as a “shepherd” of God’s people?  God calls everyone to care for others is some way.  You don’t need to be in a formal leadership role in your job.  You don’t need to be wealthy with an excess of resources to care for others.  All you need is a desire to serve others in gratitude for the blessings you have received from God our Shepherd. 


Do you know and experience the love of God in your life?  Then you are called to share that love with others.  Don’t have the money to donate?  Then spend time with someone who is lonely.  Give encouraging words to someone who needs hope.  Use the resources God has given you to be a blessing to others.


Are you experiencing a lack of God’s love in your life at the present time?  First, pray and reflect on today’s responsorial, Psalm 23.  Ask God to remind you of the blessings He has already given you.  Ask for His help.  He will comfort you, give you hope, and never leave you alone.  Then go look for someone to bless with God’s unconditional love.  There is no greater joy than the experience of serving another with love.


Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection

Who is God our Shepherd calling you to serve today?