Unscrupulous elected leaders world-wide carry the same traits.. They spend an enormous amount of time and resources to get elected but once in power they conveniently forget their mandate to serve the people and instead concentrate on self-preservation and enhancement. They use fake news, lies, innuendos and whatever means available to silence their opposition and to justify their misdeeds. People's need for affordable housing and health care, fair and living wages, reduction of poverty and discrimination against women and minorities are brushed aside. The rule is survival of the fittest: the idea of commitment and service to the people is not a very high option.
In the first reading the prophet Jeremiah speaks of the key role of the shepherd to care for his flock, to guard and protect them. God will be severe in dealing with leaders who violate this sacred trust. We are grateful for genuine leaders who truly serve the good of the people.
In the Gospel reading we see Jesus and his apostles tirelessly working for the people, in teaching and helping them: "there were so many people coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat." (Mk 6: 31b) Jesus and his apostles were faithful shepherds of their flock.
What lessons do we learn from this? First, we have to realize the importance of care and compassion for others, like a good shepherd for his flock. We have to live in a culture of mercy and compassion rather than of hate and violence. The forgiving father generously forgave his prodigal son. (Lk 15: 11 - 32) We are sons and daughters of a loving and merciful father: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
Secondly, in dealing with the young, it is important that we do not use violence of coercion to discipline them. A child treated with violence will think violence is acceptable and it would then not be a surprise if he uses force and violence to others in his later years.