Call to worship

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is moved with compassion for his flock of people who were without good shepherds. So he sent forth his 12 disciples to preach and heal s\and to be signs of God’s Kingdom.

As the people of Israel journey through the desert and make their encampment, Moses goes up the mountain where God speaks tenderly to them through him with strong images of deep parental love.

“I have brought you here to myself … bore you up on eagle’s wings … you are my special possession.” God reminds them how they are the dearest of all people, those chosen to live within the deep promise of an intimate covenant, in a caring relationship with God. This relationship gives them a holy dignity that marks the way they treat each other and all people. This community saved and set apart is God’s delight – a people profoundly blessed as chosen royal priests; the sheep of God’s precious flock.

In today’s Gospel, we see how this same love of God continues through centuries of history. Jesus is sent first to the lost people of Israel who have strayed under the poor misguided leadership of the Pharisees. Jesus will help them reclaim their dignity by bringing them back into right relationship with God.

Moved with a strong desire to embrace them, he intimately shares with them his deepest desires and personal mission. Tenderly, he calls them back to the fold, into the promise again, back to the family of dignity and delight. Jesus calls them to the royal work of healing and cleansing others. He invites them into his own identity – they are to be saviors like him.

What perfect readings to highlight Father’s Day weekend! These scriptures image a God of fatherly tenderness who calls “His” sons and daughters into a deep intimacy, sharing “his” very home, giving us noble work, solid tools, and strong direction, sending us carefully forward into the fields of our lives.

Centering prayer

You O God, who carried us on eagle’s wings
and made us your special possession,
created with us a sacred covenant
made us holy and gave us dignity.
How wonderful you are, Creator God,
To love us so tenderly and so completely.
When we were lost you sent your Son
to find and shepherd us,
to call us back to our holiness,
to remind us of our dignity.
Even now, you call us back,
You summon us
to be miracle workers,
teachers and healers.
How lovingly you care for us,
God, Father and Mother,
God, Friend and Shepherd
God, Spirit and Lover.

Music for reflection