Gospel Reading: Mk 6:30-34
The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
Reflection: His heart was moved with pity
The Gospel gives us a glimpse of Jesus as a compassionate shepherd. First, he is shepherd to the Twelve, his close collaborators in mission. They have just returned from their missionary work, and they report to Jesus what they did and taught. Seeing that they are tired and have little time to rest and eat as many people continually keep coming to them, Jesus instructs them to go by themselves to a deserted place to rest a while.
This shows that while Jesus sees the urgency and magnitude of their tasks, he realizes that the Twelve need to rest and replenish their energies. Their time alone could also be an opportunity for them to reconnect with the Father in prayer. This is something that many of us tend to forget or neglect: to balance our life between work and prayer and recreation. We are easily driven by work and the desire to earn more, perhaps because our needs and wants have multiplied. As a result, many complain of stress or burnout and unhappiness in their lives.
Second, Jesus is a compassionate shepherd towards the many needy and sick people who are following them. Jesus is moved very deeply as he witnesses how they walk long distances beneath the heat, in hunger, in thirst, through thick crowds. Many people likewise come to us, having no one to turn to for their needs except Jesus.
Jesus’ example invites us to ask ourselves: Do we feel deeply towards those who approach us for help, for healing, for food, for hope? Or have we gotten so used to the experience as to no longer be moved? How do we nurture our heart in the mercy of Jesus? Around the world today, more and more people need compassion as they undergo extreme sufferings and difficulties: those in war zones, those trying to escape from violence, those in the throes of famine, those who are unwelcome and discriminated against. Do we feel their pains, and are we moved to join others in responding to their needs?
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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.