16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mark 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.
The disciples have now returned from the mission on which Jesus sent them out to towns and villages to teach and share the good news. But instead of quiet time to rest and reflect on their experiences, the ever growing crowd of people has followed them to what should have been a place of retreat. But Jesus doesn’t see the presence of this crowd as an annoyance. Mark tells us that his heart was moved with pity for them. Jesus is a kind, caring and compassionate leader. This is the Jesus we follow. A shepherd who guides us in life’s journey. A journey that can sometimes be a rough road filled with disappointments and obstacles.
As Jesus wished the disciples to come away to a deserted place and rest, we also need a place to rest and time to grow closer to Jesus, our Shepherd. In our often hectic and chaotic lives this may seem an impossible dream. Make the effort now to set aside a few moments each day to rest, to be quiet and to let Jesus speak to one’s heart. Consider the priceless gift this can be.