Today’s readings are dedicated to the shepherds who guide God’s flock. The first reading is more cautionary to those who would scatter and divide that flock.

“You have scattered my flock, you have driven them away and have not taken care of them. Right, I shall take care of you for your misdeeds, Yahweh declares! But the remnant of my flock I myself shall gather from all the countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; they will be fruitful and increase in numbers. For them I shall raise up shepherds to shepherd them and pasture them.”

There are still many bad shepherds at work in our pop culture who would scatter and divide. But there are also many good shepherds who are fathers and mothers, leading their families away from those misguiding forces. That job is both daunting and tiring, but as we read in Mark’s gospel today, God understands how hard this non-stop job is.

After a particularly grueling day Jesus tells his disciples:

‘Come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that there was no time for them even to eat, Mark writes. “So they went off in the boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves.”

Parents should take comfort from this reading for its recognition that busy shepherds need some time to recharge. That’s what’s so great about having groups like “Brothers in Christ. It’ s a two-hour oasis for men in charge of their busy families to meet with their peers and offer each other guidance, encouragement…and even a few laughs. In serving this purpose, BIC is a holy ministry to strengthen and comfort today’s good shepherds as they guide their flocks to the pasture God promised.