In the readings for Sunday, July 22, God reminds us to try and find balance between living lives of leadership and finding some rest.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.
…His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
Do you ever feel like you just can’t get a break? You’re not alone! Even when you want to be!
Jesus tried to take a break with his Apostles because, being God, he knows that we need rest. And he needed rest. But, when the people found out where they were going, they raced to beat him there so they could see him. Seeing how much they needed God, he couldn’t turn them away — he gave up his break and ministered to them, because they had no one else to do it. Their leaders weren’t caring for their needs.
The first reading is a warning to such leaders — those who ignore the needs of their people and act solely in their own interests. Leaders like that will lose their positions — God won’t tolerate their selfishness. Who are those leaders today? In Church they are our priests, bishops, the pope, and they are us. We are all called to lead because we are baptized into the same ministry that Jesus began here. For us, it’s not so easy to say “they” are bad leaders. If people’s needs aren’t being met, it’s on all of us.
Paul holds Jesus’ incarnation as the model for perfect leadership — that he became God and human to offer himself for our reconciliation. Jesus brought God right up close to us, so that we could really know God. As Christians, we have to do that for others. It is our job to help save souls. Each of us, if we model our lives after Jesus, can do this. We can spark in others an interest in God when they experience God through us. Our holiness can bring people to Jesus and should.
But, we can’t forget that God told us to rest, too. We’re no good to anyone if we’re too tired (physically, spiritually or emotionally). Part of good service is taking care of ourselves. Jesus knew that, and so he invited the disciples to get some rest with him. God modeled this for us, and we have to make sure we do it so that we have the strength to be good leaders.
What is your favorite way to get rest? Naps? Sitting in nature? Coloring quietly?
Do you see yourself as a leader in the Christian community? If so, how? If not, why not? What could you change to become one?
What does meeting people’s needs have to do with being a good leader? How would that translate to your place of business? Your friend group? Your family?
It’s summer! Things are supposed to slow down a bit. This week, take some time for deliberate rest and relaxation as a family.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”