16th Sunday of Year B


Key Points to the Readings


Jeremiah 23:1-6

Woe to those who mislead their sheep

  • Preaching just before the Babylonian exile, Jeremiah warns the people that they will lose the land and be driven into exile unless they turn from their evil ways.
  • The people do not turn from their evil ways.  They and Zedekiah, their ruler, are taken into exile.
  • The leaders of the exiled people, like good shepherds, kept the people united and nourished them with hope.
SOURCES: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor.  The clipart is from the archive of Father Richard Lonsdale © 2000 which may be freely reproduced in any non-profit publication.


Ephesians 2:13-18

He announced the Good News to those who were far off and to those who were near

  • The Letter to the Ephesians emphasizes the unity between Jews and Gentiles.
  • All who are redeemed through Christ are one body in him.
  • Christ is the way to peace for all people.
SOURCES: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor.  The clipart is from the archive of Father Richard Lonsdale © 2000 which may be freely reproduced in any non-profit publication.


Mark 6:30-34

They went to a deserted place to rest

  • The disciples have just returned from their first missionary journey and Jesus knows that they need rest.
  • The attempt to get away from the crowds is useless because the people are hungry to hear the word of God.
  • Jesus, the Good Shepherd, responds to the people with compassion.
SOURCES: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor.  The clipart is from the archive of Father Richard Lonsdale © 2000 which may be freely reproduced in any non-profit publication.

Dr. Kieran J. O’Mahony, OSA


Navarre Bible



Click to access 16-ordinary-time-year-b.pdf

Sources include The Jerome Biblical Commentary, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, and The Navarre Bible. In addition, Church History by Laux (TAN Books), Introduction to the Bible by Laux (TAN Books), A Guide to the Bible by Fuentes (Four Courts Press), and Sharing Our Biblical Story by Russell for background information. We also included quotations from The Faith of the Early Fathers (3 volumes) by Jergens and Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (many volumes) edited by Odum.
SOURCE: Bible study program at St. Charles Borromeo (Picayune, MS) courtesy of Military Archdiocese.
Raymond E. Brown

Introduction to the New Testament


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Ave Maria Press

A Catholic Study of God’s Word


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saint louis university

Scripture in Depth


FIRST READING: Jeremiah, writing toward the end of the reign of Zedekiah just before the final captivity in 587, looks back over recent reigns and condemns the last kings of Judah as shepherds who have misgoverned their flock.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: The first two stanzas of this psalm, the most familiar in the psalter, picture Yhwh as shepherd, while the third and fourth stanzas portray him as host at a banquet in the temple.

SECOND READING: Now both Jew and Gentile have access in one body to the Father. “Access” is a liturgical term denoting the approach to God in worship.

GOSPEL:  Mark 6:34 is the beginning of a new pericope, the feeding of the multitude (cf. the variant in Mk 8:2). The reference to the shepherd motif is probably pre-Marcan and gives a special emphasis to the miraculous feeding. But the note about teaching looks redactional; Mark frequently emphasizes Jesus’ teaching activity without giving the content of his teaching.


  1. THE WORD EMBODIED: Jesus Not A Boy-O
  4. LET THE SCRIPTURES SPEAK: Shepherding Today
  6. GLANCING THOUGHTS: Shepherding
  7. THE PERSPECTIVE OF JUSTICE: The Care from the Shepherd
  8. A POEM TO SIT WITH: The Light
Visit for more resources (e.g PRAYING TOWARD SUNDAY, MUSIC OF SUNDAY, GENERAL INTERCESSIONS) to help you reflect on the spirituality of the scriptures before Mass.

16th Sunday of Year B


Like a Shepherd Tends His Flock

During the last several Sundays, the readings focused on the authority and mission of God’s representatives, the “voice” of God to the people. Using the familiar Biblical imagery of a shepherd and his flock, the readings continue to reflect on the authority and mission of the Church with emphasis on the need for righteous “shepherds,” the bishops and priests God calls to lead the “flock” of His Church. “The Good Shepherd ought to be the model and ‘form’ of the bishop’s pastoral office. Conscious of his own weaknesses, ‘the bishop … can have compassion for those who are ignorant and erring. He should not refuse to listen to his subjects whose welfare he promotes as of his very own children… The faithful … should be closely attached to the bishop as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father’…” (CCC 896; quoting from Lumen gentium, 27).

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.
First Reading

The False and True Shepherds

In the First Reading, the 6th-century BC prophet Jeremiah calls a covenant lawsuit against the failed religious leaders of the Israelites/Jews of the Sinai Covenant. In response to their failures and the harm they have done to the people, Yahweh promises that He will come Himself to call them to account and to shepherd the “flock” of His people. He will bring them back to a covenant relationship with Him, rescuing them from where they were scattered and lost both physically and spiritually.


Judgment on the failed ‘Shepherds”

In the pattern of a covenant lawsuit (a riv in Hebrew), the LORD (Yahweh) pronounces judgment on the failed “shepherds” who are the religious hierarchy of the Church of Israel, bound to Him under the terms of the Sinai Covenant (Ex 24:6-7). Because they failed in obedience and the exercise of God-ordained worship, resulting in the people’s apostasy, God punished them by allowing their “scattering” into exile into Gentile lands (verses 1-2). However, God did not abandon them but promised to come Himself, as their Divine Shepherd, to offer forgiveness and restore a faithful remnant of His covenant people (verse 3). Furthermore, He promised to give them a messianic King who would arise from the line of the great King David to rule over Judah and Israel with justice (verses 5-6).

Jesus Fulfills Jeremiah’s Prophecy

Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and son of David (Mt 1:1), fulfills Jeremiah’s prophecy. He is the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11, 14) who will gather to Himself a faithful remnant of the old Israel in His Apostles and disciples. They are the “shepherds” the Messiah will appoint to govern His Kingdom of the Church (Jer 23:4; Mt 18:18; Jn 20:22-23). Jesus came to gather the scattered and abandoned flock of Israel that He said was like “sheep without a shepherd” (Mt 9:36), and to call to account the failed shepherds of His people (see the “woe judgments” of Jesus’ covenant lawsuit in Mt 23:13-36). However, the salvation that Jesus, the Davidic Messiah, brings will not be the temporal salvation promised under obedience to the old Sinai Covenant. Instead, Jesus came to establish an eternal New Covenant that promises everlasting salvation and a share in His divine life, with gifts of grace not possible under the old order but promised by God through His prophets (Jer 31:31-34; 32:40; 50:5; Ez 34:23-24; 37:24, 26-28; also see Lk 22:20; Heb 8:6-7, 13; 12:24).

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.
Responsorial Psalm

The Lord is the Great Shepherd

Response: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”

In the Responsorial Psalm, we read a beautiful toda/todah Psalm of King David, Israel’s shepherd-king. In Hebrew, the word toda means “thanksgiving.” A toda psalm is one that typically begins with the psalmist crying out to the Lord God from the depth of his sufferings, but ends in a hymn of praise to God who is always faithful and has not abandoned His servant.


Two Metaphors Frame the Psalm

The 23rd Psalm is probably the best-loved of all the 150 psalms. The title attributes it to David, God’s anointed shepherd-king of Israel and the ancestor of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Christ (Mt 1:1-16, 19-20; Lk 1:30-33). This psalm expresses a personal reflection of the relationship between the psalmist and the nearness of his God. Two metaphors frame the psalm:

  1. The Lord as the Divine Shepherd (verses 1-4), and
  2. The Lord as the Divine Host of the sacred meal (verses 5-6).

In the Bible and the ancient Near East, the role of a shepherd was often a metaphor for the king (2 Sam 5:2; Is 44:28; etc.). The same metaphor expressed the role of God the Divine King and the protector and judge of His covenant people (Ps 28:9; Is 40:11; Ez 34:11-16).

Aspects of Shepherding

Describing the aspects of shepherding, perhaps from David’s perspective as a shepherd in his youth (1 Sam 16:1, 11-13), the inspired writer provides a picture of his relationship with God as he seeks to live a life of holiness (verses 2-3). Under the Divine Shepherd’s constant guidance, the psalmist and his people, the sheep of God’s flock, are led with tenderness and compassion.  The Divine Shepherd considers the fears and weaknesses of His people, leading them not by the fearful, raging rivers but by the quiet waters (sheep have a fear of drowning and will only drink from still waters). His tender care gives the psalmist confidence that with God’s shepherding, he will reach the green pastures of God’s heavenly kingdom (1 Pt 5:4; Rev 7:17). Even amid trials and sufferings, the psalmist feels a sense of security as he trusts God to lead and protect him. Despite the threats of his enemies, God the Divine Host has prepared a table and sacred meal for him when it is time for him to enter into God’s eternal rest. The psalmist feels overwhelmed by the abundance of God’s mercy and covenant love.

Application for Today

For Christians, this psalm takes on its fullness of meaning in Jesus’s statement, “I am the Good Shepherd” (Jn 10:11, 14; Heb 13:20) and in the Eucharistic (“Thanksgiving” in Greek and Toda in Hebrew) banquet at every Catholic altar. The host metaphor of the psalm first found fulfillment at the table of the Last Supper, where Jesus, the host of the sacred meal, offered His disciples the Eucharistic banquet for the first time.  He continues to provide the Eucharistic banquet for His faithful on the altar table at every celebration of the Mass. This banquet looks back in time to the Last Supper and forward in time to the heavenly banquet in God’s eternal kingdom when the righteous enter His eternal rest (Rev 19:5-9). All Christ’s faithful hope to have a seat in the presence of the saints and the faithful David at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and His Bride, the Church (Rev 19:9).

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.
Second Reading

The Church’s Unity as One Flock in Christ

In the Second Reading, St. Paul writes about the Gospel of salvation that God worked in Christ Jesus for all peoples. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’s New Covenant Kingdom brought Jews and Gentiles into a unity of one “flock” in one faith family that worships the same God and Father.


The Gentiles

St. Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians, a predominantly Gentile congregation, about the Gospel of salvation that God worked in Christ for all peoples. The Gentiles, "those who were once far off" (verses 13 and 17), did not have the Messianic expectations of the Jews, "those who were near" (verse 17). The Gentiles lacked knowledge of the One, true God. Their worship of false gods gave them no hope of eternal salvation at the end of their earthly lives.

Barriers Trascended

Through Christ Jesus, all these barriers between Jew and Gentile are transcended (verses 13-14) by Jesus' fulfillment of the Mosaic Old Covenant Law (verse 15a). Now, in the Messianic Age of Christ's Kingdom of the Church, Jews and Gentiles have been united into a single religious community (verses 15b-16) and imbued with the same Holy Spirit they worship the same God and Father (verse 18).

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt's Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.

Jesus’ Compassion for the People

In the Gospel Reading, the men Jesus chose to shepherd His New Covenant Kingdom return from their first missionary journey where they preached the coming of the promised Messianic Kingdom. Jesus sees the crowds of people gathered to hear Him preach and has compassion for them because they are like "sheep without a shepherd. He is the fulfillment of the prophecies of Jeremiah in the First Reading. Jesus is both God Himself (Jer 23:3) and the Messianic Good Shepherd from the house of David (Jer 23:5) who has come to rescue His people and to lead them to salvation through worship in "the house of the Lord" (Ps 23:6).


The Context

The Apostles have returned from their missionary journey to the towns and villages in Galilee and Judea, where they healed the sick, cast out demons, preached repentance, and announced the coming of the Messiah’s Kingdom (Mk 6:7-13).

Personal Sacrifice of Jesus and the Apostles

Knowing that His Apostles are exhausted after their mission, Jesus invited them to come away with Him and rest physically and spiritually. St. Mark is the only Gospel writer who consistently mentions the personal sacrifice Jesus and His disciples experienced during His ministry. Mark notes that they had no opportunity to even take a meal without being interrupted by people seeking Jesus (verse 31b). To provide for the needs of His Apostles, Jesus took them by boat to a deserted place.

Sheep Without a Shepherd

Jesus and His disciples came ashore only to discover that the crowd had found where they were going and were already gathered in great numbers when they disembarked.  Instead of being angry that His plan to take His Apostles on a retreat was now impossible, Jesus felt compassion for the crowd. Compassion isn’t just a human emotion; it is one of the attributes of God (Ex 34:6).

Jesus characterized the crowd as “sheep without a shepherd,” which recalls the prophecy in Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Ezekiel 34:1-6, 11-16. Both the 6th-century BC prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel promised God Himself would come to shepherd His people because of the failures of Israel’s shepherds/religious leaders (Jer 23:3; Ez 34:1-6). And Jeremiah and Ezekiel both prophesied that God would one day send a Davidic Messiah to shepherd God’s people in a new covenant of everlasting peace (Jer 23:5-6; 31:31; 32:40; 50:5; Ez 34:23-24; 37:24-28). Jesus is the fulfillment of the eternal Davidic covenant (2 Sam 7:16; 23:5; 2 Chr 13:5; Ps 89:2-5; Sir 45:25), and He is the Messiah sent to shepherd God’s covenant people. Jesus is both the Messianic Davidic shepherd prince and God Himself (Ez 34) who came to rescue His “flock” and lead them to the “green pastures” of eternal salvation. The Church is the “sheepfold” of God’s “flock that He promised He would come to shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by God the Son, the Davidic Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for the sheep” (CCC 754).

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.

16th Sunday of Year B

Niell Donavan

Sermon Writer


Featured Commentaries

Mark: Prelude to the Feeding of the 5,000 (Mark 6:33-34)

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Exalting Jesus in Mark (Chr… by Juan Carlos Herrera

Mark: A Reader-Response Commentary - The Apostles look for a Quiet PLace (6.30-34)

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Mark Commentary by Oscar Cabrera

Mark: A Theme Based Approach - Testimony of Three Miracles
SOURCE: Made available through SCRIBD. All rights reserved.

Old Testament Echoes

Having sustained suffering and deep wounds at the hands of such shepherds, some of these sheep remain in the pews of present-day congregations,

GOSPEL: Like sheep without a shepherd. That is an echo from various experiences of the people of God in the Old Testament. It is heard in Moses’ yearning for a successor so that the people may not be bereft of leadership in the desolation of the wilderness, “like sheep without a shepherd” (Num. 27:17). It is heard in the Deutero-historian’s reflection on life under the abominable reign of Ahab, as Ahab and Jezebel chased after idols rather than tending to the well-being of the people, leaving the people “scattered on the mountains, like sheep that have no shepherd” (1 Kgs. 22:17). It is heard in Ezekiel’s eschatological oracle (Ezek. 34:8–23), offered to the people enduring exploitative leaders callously preying on the people for the leaders’ own callous gain, namely, that the Lord will one day “set up over them one shepherd … [who] shall feed them and be their shepherd” (Ezek. 34:23).

Sheep without a shepherd. Sheep with faithless shepherds distracted by idols that do not save, that do not provide for the life and well-being of the sheep. Sheep with exploitative shepherds who use the sheep for their own gain. Having sustained suffering and deep wounds at the hands of such shepherds, some of these sheep remain in the pews of present-day congregations, but daring never to trust a shepherd again. Many others dwell beyond the bounds of our churches, determined never to expose themselves afresh to the risk of bad religion.

SOURCE: EXCERPT taken from FEASTING ON THE GOSPELS—MARK. All rights reserved.

God’s Endgame

God's justice is already at work: it is already penetrating current strongholds of injustice.

FIRST READING:Punishment for sin (v. 2) will certainly come, but it is not God’s endgame. God’s stated purpose is to make godly justice the rule of the day. Having scattered his people, he will gather them again (vv. 3–4) to become a fruitful and prosperous society. A new king will reign, one who practices justice and righteousness (vv. 5–6) and is known by the name of God. God’s promise does not focus only on a distant eschatological future. It is also a qualitative description of God’s reign in the here and now. His justice is already at work: it is already penetrating current strongholds of injustice.


The King Who is God

How could a man of such tender spirit as Jeremiah sustain so much bad news?

FIRST READING: The sight of this king came to Jeremiah at the time he most needed it. The first wave of the attack had hit Jerusalem. Zedekiah was king, watching the nation disintegrate before his eyes. The line of kings before him had left this legacy of hopelessness. How could a man of such tender spirit as Jeremiah sustain so much bad news? We need to remember this when darkness fails around our own lives, when burn-out and spiritual fatigue threaten to obscure all hope. Times such as these provide God His finest hour and the prophet his finest vision.

SOURCE: Excerpt taken from THe Preacher's Commentary, Complete 35-Volume Set: Genesis–Revelation offers pastors, teachers, and Bible study leaders clear and compelling insights into the entire Bible that will equip them to understand, apply, and teach the truth in God's Word.

Blessed Life

The picture is one of the realization of ultimate communion with God himself..

PSALM - DESPITE THE ATTEMPTS by some commentators to understand verse 5 in the context of the shepherd’s relation to the flock, it seems more likely that here the image shifts in order to connect the psalmist’s message to the human audience explicitly. The image shifts, therefore, from the joys and threats of the migrating flock to the new picture of the beleaguered faithful affirmed and honored by God in the very presence of the enemy. In these verses, Yahweh is no longer shepherd but assumes the role of host, while the trusting follower sits as honored guest at his table. The picture is one of the realization of ultimate communion with God himself.

To accept another as a guest at one’s table was to set aside enmity and to assume responsibility for the safety of the guest while in your dwelling. To sit at Yahweh’s table is to enjoy fellowship and communion with him. To do so “in the presence of my enemies” is to have one’s special relationship to God declared publicly in a context of divine blessing and security.

SOURCE: EXCERPT taken from THE NIV APPLICATION COMMENTARY (49 Books). All rights reserved.

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16th Sunday of Year B

MARK 6:30-34

30. And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.

31. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

32. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.

33. And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.

34. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.


Third Century

  • Origen – Alexandrian biblical critic, exegete, theologian, and spiritual writer; analyzed the Scriptures on three levels: the literal, the moral, and the allegorical
  • Cyprian – pagan rhetorician converted to Christianity; acquired acquired a profound knowledge of the Scriptures and the writings of Tertullian; elected bishop of Carthage; martyred in 258

Fourth Century

  • Eusebius – Bishop of Caesarea; author of Ecclesiastical History, the principal source for the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Age till his own day; also wrote a valuable work on Biblical topography called the Onomasticon
  • Athanasius – Bishop of Alexandria; attended the Council of Nicea; opposed Arianism, in defence of the faith proclaimed at Nicaea—that is, the true deity of God the Son
  • Hilary – Bishop of Poitiers; the earliest known writer of hymns in the Western Church; defended the cause of orthodoxy against Arianism; became the leading Latin theologian of his age
  • Gregory of Nazianzus – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; a great influence in restoring the Nicene faith and leading to its final establishment at the Council of Constantinople in 381
  • Gregory of Nyssa – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Nyssa; took part in the Council of Constantinople
  • Ambrose – Bishop of Milan; partly responsible for the conversion of Augustine; author of Latin hymns; it was through his influence that hymns became an integral part of the liturgy of the Western Church
  • Jerome – biblical scholar; devoted to a life of asceticism and study; his greatest achievement was his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate); also wrote many biblical commentaries
  • Nemesius – Christian philosopher; Bishop of Emesa in Syria
  • Augustine – Bishop of Hippo (in northern Africa); a “Doctor of the Church”; most famous work is his Confessions; his influence on the course of subsequent theology has been immense
  • Chrysostom – Bishop of Constantinople; a “Doctor of the Church”; a gifted orator; his sermons on Gen, Ps, Isa, Matt, John, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews) established him as the greatest of Christian expositors
  • Prosper of Aquitaine – theologian; supporter of Augustinian doctrines; closely associated with Pope Leo I (“the Great”)
  • Damasus – pope; active in suppressing heresy
  • Apollinaris of Laodicea – Bishop of Laodicea; close friend of Athanasias; vigorous advocate of orthodoxy against the Arians
  • Amphilochius of Iconium – Bishop of Iconium; close friend of the Cappadocian Fathers; defended the full Divinity of the Holy Spirit

Fifth Century

  • Asterius of Amasea – Arian theologian; some extant homilies on the Psalms attributed to him
  • Evagrius Ponticus – spiritual writer; noted preacher at Constantinople; spent the last third of his life living a monastic life in the desert
  • Isidore of Pelusium – an ascetic and exegete; his extant correspondence contains much of doctrinal, exegetical, and moral interest
  • Cyril of Alexandria – Patriarch of Alexandria; contested Nestorius; put into systematic form the classical Greek doctrines of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ
  • Maximus of Turin – Bishop of Turin; over 100 of his sermons survive
  • Cassion (prob. Cassian) – one of the great leaders of Eastern Christian monasticism; founded two monasteries near Marseilles; best known books the Institutes and the Conferences
  • Chrysologus – Bishop of Ravenna; a “Doctor of the Church”
  • Basil “the Great” – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Caesarea; responsible for the Arian controversy’s being put to rest at the Council of Constantinople
  • Theodotus of Ancyra – Bishop of Ancyra; wrote against the teaching of Nestorius
  • Leo the Great – Pope who significantly consolidated the influence of the Roman see; a “Doctor of the Church”; his legates defended Christological orthodoxy at the Council of Chalcedon
  • Gennadius – Patriarch of Constantinople; the author of many commentaries, notably on Genesis, Daniel, and the Pauline Epistles
  • Victor of Antioch – presbyter of Antioch; commentator and collector of earlier exegetical writings
  • Council of Ephesus – declared the teachings of Nestorious heretical, affirming instead the unity between Christ’s human and divine natures
  • Nilus – Bishop of Ancyra; disciple of St John Chrysostom; founder of a monastery; conducted a large correspondence influencing his contemporaries; his writings deal mainly with ascetic and moral subjects

Sixth Century

  • Dionysius Areopagita (aka Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite) – mystical theologian; combined Neoplatonism with Christianity; the aim of all his works is the union of the whole created order with God
  • Gregory the Great – Pope; a “Doctor of the Church”; very prolific writer of works on practical theology, pastoral life, expositions of Job, sermons on the Gospels, etc.
  • Isidore – Bishop of Seville; a “Doctor of the Church”; concerned with monastic discipline, clerical education, liturgical uniformity, conversion of the Jews; helped secure Western acceptance of Filioque clause
  • Eutychius (Patriarch of Constan­tinople) – consecrated the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; defended the Chalcedonian faith against an unorthodox sect; became controversial later in life
  • Isaac (Bp. of Nineveh) (aka Isaac the Syrian) – monastic writer on ascetic subjects
  • Severus (Bp. of Antioch) – Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; the leading theologian of the moderate Monophysites
  • John Climacus – ascetic and writer on the spiritual life; later Abbot of Mt. Sinai; best known for his Ladder of Divine Ascent which treats of the monastic virtues and vices
  • Fulgentius – Bishop of Ruspe in N. Africa; scholarly disposition; follower of St. Augustine; wrote many treatises against Arianism and Pelagianism

Seventh Century

  • Maximus ( of Constantinople, 645.) – Greek theologian; prolific writer on doctrinal, ascetical, exegetical, and liturgical subjects

Eighth Century

  • Bede (131CESK) – “the Venerable Bede”; a “Doctor of the Church”; pedagogue, biblical exegete, hagiographer, and historian, the most influential scholar from Anglo-Saxon England
  • John Damascene – Greek theologian; a “Doctor of the Church”; defender of images in the Iconoclastic Controversy; expounded the doctrine of the perichoresis (circumincession) of the Persons of the Trinity
  • Alcuin – Abbot of St. Martin’s (Tours); a major contributor to the Carolingian Renaissance; supervised the production of several complete editions of the Bible; responsible for full acceptance of the Vulgate in the West

Ninth Century

  • Haymo (of Halberstadt) – German Benedictine monk who became bishop of Halberstadt; prolific writer
  • Photius (of Constantinople) – Patriarch of Constantinople; a scholar of wide interests and encyclopedic knowledge; his most important work, Bibliotheca, is a description of several hundred books (many now lost), with analyses and extracts; also wrote a Lexicon
  • Rabanus Maurus – Abbot of Fulda in Hess Nassau; later Archbishop of Mainz; wrote commentaries on nearly every Book of the Bible
  • Remigius (of Auxerre) monk, scholar, and teacher
  • Paschasius Radbertus – Carolingian theologian; wrote commentaries on Lamentations and Matthew, as well as the first doctrinal monograph on the Eucharist, he maintained the real Presence of Christ

Eleventh Century

  • Theophylact – Byzantine exegete; his principal work, a series of commentaries on several OT books and on the whole of the NT except Revelation, is marked by lucidity of thought and expression and closely follows the scriptural text
  • Anselm – Archbishop of Canterbury; a “Doctor of the Church”; highly regarded teacher and spiritual director; famous ontological argument for the existence of God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought”
  • Petrus Alphonsus – Jewish Spanish writer and astronomer, a convert to Christianity; one of the most important figures in anti-Judaic polemics
  • Laufranc (prob. Lanfranc) – Archbishop of Canterbury; commented on the Psalms and Pauline Epistles; his biblical commentary passed into the Glossa Ordinaria


GLOSS. (non occ.) The Evangelist, after relating the death of John, gives an account of those things which Christ did with His disciples after the death of John, saying, And the Apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.

PSEUDO-JEROME. For they return to the fountain-head whence the streams flow; those who are sent by God, always offer up thanks for those things which they have received.

THEOPHYLACT. Let us also learn, when we are sent on any mission, not to go far away, and not to overstep the bounds of the office committed, but to go often to him, who sends us, and report all that we have done and taught; for we must not only teach but act.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) Not only do the Apostles tell the Lord what they themselves had done and taught, but also his own and John’s disciples together tell Him what John had suffered, during the time that they were occupied in teaching, as Matthew relates. It goes on: And he said to them, Come ye yourselves apart, &c.

AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Evan. 2. 45) This is said to have taken place, after the passion of John, therefore what is first related took place last, for it was by these events that Herod was moved to say, This is John the Baptist, whom I beheaded.

THEOPHYLACT. Again, He goes into a desert place from His humility. But Christ makes His disciples rest, that men who are set over others may learn, that they who labour in any work or in the word deserve rest, and ought not to labour continually.

BEDE. (ubi sup.) How arose the necessity for giving rest to His disciples, He shews, when He adds, For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat; we may then see how great was the happiness of that time, both from the toil of the teachers, and from the diligence of the learners. It goes on, And embarking in a ship, they departed into a desert place privately. The disciples did not enter into the ship alone, but taking up the Lord with them, they went to a desert place, as Matthew shews. (Matt. 14) Here He tries the faith of the multitude, and by seeking a desert place He would see whether they care to follow Him. And they follow Him, and that not on horseback, nor in carriages, but laboriously coming on foot, they shew how great is their anxiety for their salvation. There follows, And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them. In saying that they outwent them on foot, it is proved that the disciples with the Lord did not reach the other bank of the sea, or of the Jordan, but they went to the nearest places of the same country, where the people of those parts could come to them on foot.

THEOPHYLACT. So do thou not wait for Christ till He Himself call you, but outrun Him, and come before Him. There follows, And Jesus when he came out saw much people, and was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep having no shepherd. The Pharisees being ravening wolves did not feed the sheep, but devoured them; for which reason they gather themselves to Christ, the true Shepherd, who gave them spiritual food, that is, the word of God. Wherefore it goes on, And he began to teach them many things. For seeing that those who followed Him on account of His miracles were tired from the length of the way, He pitied them, and wished to satisfy their wish by teaching them.

BEDE. (in Marc. 2, 26) Matthew says that He healed their sick, for the real way of pitying the poor is to open to them the way of truth by teaching them, and to take away their bodily pains.

PSEUDO-JEROME. Mystically, however, the Lord took apart those whom He chose, that though living amongst evil men, they might not apply their minds to evil things, as Lot in Sodom, Job in the land of Uz, and Obadiah in the house of Ahab.

BEDE. (in Marc. 2, 25) Leaving also Judæa, the holy preachers, in the desert of the Church, overwhelmed by the burden of their tribulations amongst the Jews, obtained rest by the imparting of the grace of faith to the Gentiles.

PSEUDO-JEROME. Little indeed is the rest of the saints here on earth, long is their labour, but afterwards, they are bidden to rest from their labours. But as in the ark of Noah, the animals that were within were sent forth, and they that were without rushed in, so is it in the Church, Judas went, the thief came to Christ. But as long as men go back from the faith, the Church can have no refuge from grief; for Rachel weeping for her children would not be comforted. Moreover, this world is not the banquet, in which the new wine is drank, when the new song will be sung by men made anew, when this mortal shall have put on immortality.

BEDE. (in Marc. 2, 26) But when Christ goes to the deserts of the Gentiles, many bauds of the faithful leaving the walls of their cities, that is their old manner of living, follow Him.

SOURCE: eCatholic 2000 Commentary in public domain.

16th Sunday of Year B

First Reading

The Ways of an Infinite God

Job 38:8
“Who decreed the boundaries of the seas when they gushed from the depths? Who clothed them with clouds and thick darkness

New Living Translation (Hover cursor above the scripture reference to read the NRSV version)

JOB 38:2–39:30 God used a series of questions to illustrate how little Job knew about creation and God’s ways. If Job knew nothing of these mysteries, how could he know anything about God’s character? All Job could do was worship and trust God.

We, too, wonder why we suffer. We wonder why bad things happen to us and those we love. But like Job, we are finite and cannot understand the ways of our infinite God. All we can do is praise him and await his deliverance.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.


Care of Responsible Shepherds

Jeremiah 23:4
Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the LORD, have spoken!

JER 23:1-4 Shepherds—the leaders of God’s people—who were supposed to care for God’s “sheep” had scattered and forsaken them. Since Judah’s leaders had led God’s people astray, God promised to punish the leaders and gather his people “back to their own sheepfold.” He vowed to place them in the care of responsible shepherds who would love and tend them. Jesus is our good shepherd, loving us and tending us as his flock (see John 10:1-18).

If we are willing to seek out and follow his will for our life, there is hope for us, no matter how far we may have strayed.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Second Reading

Broken Relationships Restored

Ephesians 2:16
Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

EPH 2:14-19 Through Jesus Christ, the barrier between God and his sinful creatures has been removed. But Christ’s work of reconciliation does not stop there. He can also remove the obstacles that alienate us from other people. In Christ we can have peace with God and with others.

Restoration of our broken relationships is a necessary part of the recovery process. Some of us may feel that our relationships could never be salvaged. But realizing that Christ can give us the power to live at peace with others gives us new hope. His power will enable us to make amends to people we have wronged. All who believe in Christ are made brothers and sisters in him.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.


Balancing Our Life

Mark 6:31
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.

MARK 6:30-32 The disciples demonstrated accountability to Jesus by reporting their activities to him. At the same time, Jesus encouraged them to take care of themselves by drawing them away for rest and solitude. To continue helping others, the disciples needed time apart for personal reflection and refreshment. Unfortunately, their time apart was delayed by the many who followed them.

We must balance our life too, taking time apart to recharge our spiritual and emotional batteries. As we take time to reflect, we will learn the lessons of humility and dependence on God that are necessary for our progress in recovery.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Betraying God

Mark 14:18
and as they were sitting around the table eating, Jesus said, “I solemnly declare that one of you will betray me, one of you who is here eating with me.”

MK 14:10-26 We are often shocked by Judas’s betrayal of Jesus. Since Judas had spent about three years in close friendship with Jesus, we wonder what could have prompted him to act as he did.

Yet if we are truly honest with ourself, we may see the same potential in our own heart. Whenever we refuse to give Jesus authority over a certain area of our life, we act like Judas. Whenever we promise to do one thing and then do another, we act like Judas. We all have betrayed God in some way or another. We should use Judas’s failure as an opportunity to take a hard look at our own life. In what ways are we betraying God?

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

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