16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

They were like sheep without a shepherd

Mark 6:34

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Prayer for Healing – Eric Nordhoff

Introduce the Gospel

This is the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel double story registers various “lacks”: lack of rest, lack of space, lack of nourishment and lack of calmness (order). As we emerge from the covid restrictions and enter the summer holidays, perhaps we can name our own “lacks” at this time — and they may well include a need of rest, space, sustenance and tranquillity.

What can I put in place to make sure that the holiday time will be truly refreshing? Time off can also be a tricky time for prayer, because our routine is disrupted. If meditation is to be continued, concrete choices will have to be made about where and when…. Jesus’ role in Mark 6:30-34 is also a guide for us. He identifies the disciples’ needs for them; he has compassion on the crowd, who are like sheep without a shepherd.

From Kieran O’Mahony Hearers of the Word for this Sunday

Read the Gospel Mark 6:30-34
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore 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.

Reflect on the Gospel using Imaginative Prayer

In this Gospel passage, Jesus invites the disciples to go to a quiet place for prayer. The following is a method of Imaginative Prayer, an Ignatian Contemplation method, explained by writer and retreat leader Margaret Silf. This specific method was presented in the weekly summary reflection from the Centre for Action and Contemplation on this weekend, the 17th July 2021.

The call to friendship with God invites us to allow our lives, with everything we most truly are, to become more closely linked to the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord and to everything he truly is. . . . One way to allow this closer linking to happen is to enter imaginatively into scenes from the earthly life of Jesus, in what is called imaginative meditation [or contemplation].

Use some quietening music again if you wish.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Ask God for what you desire—perhaps to meet God more closely or to feel God’s touch upon your life.

Read the Gospel passage several times until it is familiar and you feel at home with it.

Now imagine that the event is happening here and now and that you are an active participant in it. Don’t worry if you don’t find it easy to imagine it vividly. . . . And don’t worry about getting the facts right. You may well find that your scene doesn’t take place in first century Palestine, but in Wicklow.

Fill out the scene as much as you can by, becoming aware of who is there, the surroundings, the sights, the smells, the tastes, the weather, and the feel of the place (peaceful or threatening). What role do you find yourself taking in the scene—for example, are you one of the disciples, or one of the crowd who followed them around the lake? Listen inwardly to what God is showing you through your role in the scene. . . .

Talk with the characters in the scene, especially to Jesus. Speak from your heart simply and honestly. Tell him what you fear, what you hope for, what troubles you. . . . Don’t worry if your attention wanders. If you realize that this is happening, just bring yourself gently back to the scene for as long as you feel drawn to stay there.

There are two absolute rules: 1. Never moralize or judge yourself and 2. Always respond from your heart and not from your head. . . .

Our purpose in prayer is not to defend or condemn ourselves or to come up with any kind of analysis or sermon, but simply to respond, from our inmost depths, to what God is sharing with us of God’s own self.

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Readings in written or on video.

The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.

The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.