Reflections - July 22, 2018

“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.”  When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.”  Mk. 6:30-31, 34.
 
Summer is here.  A time for summer vacations and sunny afternoon that invite us to build up our energy in order to begin filled with joy pastoral work within a few weeks.
 
Also in this Sunday’s Gospel the disciples return from their missionary work.  They communicate to their Master and Lord their experiences lived just as we experience the task of evangelizing in our parish.  What joy the Lord must have felt upon hearing that “the Good News of the Kingdom was welcomed” and that His friends taught his teachings.
 
However there is something to highlight in this Gospel and that is that Jesus was also concerned for the spiritual well being and health of His friends.  He wanted them to regain their “balance” in their apostolic work. “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while”.  As we can see it was not to go away for a holiday on a strenuous and exhausting trip, but to “gain quality of life”.  “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”  Jn. 10:10.
 
Jesus invites them to rest and prepare spiritually in order to carry the Good News of the Kingdom to His people with compassion.  “He was moved with pity for them”.
 
Times change.  Today we live in a world of technology, but the need for God and His Words of consolation are the same.  When human beings do not have Christ as absolute value “they are like sheep without a shepherd” at the mercy of “false idols” that do not fill the vacuum of God.  That is why as envoys of the Lord we are called to assume our leadership with creativity.  As Pope Francis says (in Misericordiae  vultus): “Let us have compassion as Jesus did who cured the sick, fed the hungry, and especially to do the same signs He made with the sinners and the excluded because they all wore the hallmark of mercy”. “They will no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing”.  Jer 23:4.
 
I conclude with this phrase from the Pope:  “That in our parishes…..and anywhere there are Christians, the needy will find in them an oasis of mercy”.