Saturday, July 21, 2012

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Mark 6:30-34

The Apostles Return
[30] The Apostles returned to Jesus, and told Him all that they had done and taught. [31] And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. [32] And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.

First Miracles of the Loaves
[33] Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from the towns, and got there ahead of them. [34] As He landed He saw a great throng, and He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.



30-31. We can see here the intensity of Jesus' public ministry. Such was His dedication to souls that St. Mark twice mentions that the disciples did not even have time to eat (cf. Mark 3:20). A Christian should be ready to sacrifice his time and even his rest in the service of the Gospel. This attitude of availability will lead us to change our plans whenever the good of souls so requires.

But Jesus also teaches us here to have common sense and not to go to such extremes that we physically cannot cope: "The Lord makes His disciples rest, to show those in charge that people who work or preach cannot do so without breaks" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). "He who pledges himself to work for Christ should never have a free moment, because to rest is not to do nothing: it is to relax in activities which demand less effort" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 357).

34. Our Lord had planned a period of rest, for Himself and His disciples, from the pressures of the apostolate (Mark 6:31-32). And He has to change His plans because so many people come, eager to hear Him speak. Not only is He not annoyed with them: He feels compassion on seeing their spiritual need. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). They need instruction and our Lord wants to meet this need by preaching to them. "Jesus is moved by hunger and sorrow, but what moves Him most is ignorance" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 109).

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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