Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year B / Sunday, July 18, 2021

This Sunday’s Readings: 

Jeremiah 23:1–6

Psalm 23:1–3, 3–4, 5, 6 (1)

Ephesians 2:13–18

Mark 6:30–34

LAST WEEK JESUS SENT OUT THE DISCIPLES TWO BY TWO ON MISSION, and today they return with news of everything they did. But the Sunday lectionary omits an important subplot that takes place between these two events: the death of John the Baptist. It’s Herod’s birthday, and he has prepared a lavish feast for the powerful of his kingdom. Herod is amused by his prisoner John, but his wife despises him. So she gets her daughter to ask Herod, in front of all his influential guests, for John’s head. Herod wasn’t about to lose face to save the Baptist’s. The scene ends with the disciples burying John’s headless body.

This gory interruption in the narrative of the disciples’ mission sets up two important points we’d miss if we didn’t know it was there. First, it gives the exuberant disciples (and us) a reality check. This is discipleship’s true cost. Second, it contrasts two kinds of shepherds. There’s the shepherd who feeds not with healing food that builds the community but with bitterness and cruelty that pits people against one another. Then there’s Jesus, whose compassion feeds a shepherdless flock with food that nourishes minds, unites hearts, and heals bodies for mission.

The questions for us are these: To which shepherd are we drawn? In our daily lives, from whose hand do we feed?

–Diana Macalintal

Suggested Music

GIA Hymnal Suggestions
WLP Resource Suggestions

Choral Suggestions:

My Shepherd Is the Lord on High

Words by John Quincy Adams / Music by Daniel C. Meyer

G-9392 · Three-part equal or mixed voices, reduction


“He cheers my soul, relives my woes, his glory to display; the paths of righteousness he shows, and leads me in his way.”

The author of this paraphrase of Psalm 23 is none other than the sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams. In an excerpt of his journal, John Quincy Adams recalls the joy he felt at hearing the choir praising Almighty God when singing his text. A leader of the United States writing a paraphrase of this sacred text. Quite the unexpected. This is a lesson for each of us to remember in our ministries, especially in the time of the pandemic. Blessings can come from the most unexpected places. Members of your ministry can surprise you. Everyone always has a gift to bring to ministry, even if it is not readily apparent. How can you be a good shepherd for those you lead in ministry? How can you guide them to grow in their relationship with Christ and to grow in their ministry?

–Victoria Zibell

El Señor Es Mi Pastor / The Lord Is My Shepherd

Gary Daigle

G-9842 · Two-part mixed voices, cantor, assembly, piano, guitar, opt. instruments

Ambassadors for Christ

Words by Shirley Erena Murray / Music by Austin C. Lovelace

G-6013 · SAB, keyboard

Come and Rest

Carol Browning and Larry Harris

G-9510 · SAB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar

O Rest in the Lord

Arranged by Carlton R. Young

G-9742 · SA, keyboard

More choral suggestions for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time…


Come to Me, O Weary Traveler  Bob Moore  SATB, assembly, piano, guitar, C instrument, optional string quintet G-3860

El Amor de Dios/God’s Love Is Everlasting: Salmo 136(135)  Lourdes C. Montgomery  Two-part choir, cantor, assembly, guitar, keyboard  012649

El Señor Es Compasivo: Salmo 103(102)  (bilingual)  Peter Kolar Cantor, unison choir, descants 012670

El Señor Es Mi Pastor/The Lord Is My Shepherd  Carlos Zapién  SATB, keyboard, guitar  G-10060

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us  Calvin Hampton Unison, organ G-2764

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us  J. S. Bach, arr. Hal Hopson Unison, organ  G-2266

The Good Shepherd  M. Roger Holland II  SAT, male solo, assembly, guitar, keyboard  001295

The King of Love My Shepherd Is  Arr. James Scavone  SATB, soprano solo, organ 008723

The Lord Is My Shepherd  James E. Clemens Unison choir or solo, flute, guitar, keyboard  009412

The Lord Is My Shepherd  Terrence Colopy  Two-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard  006211

The Lord Is My Shepherd: Psalm 23  Aaron Thompson  Three-part choir, cantor, assembly, guitar, keyboard  008377