20 Jul 16th Sunday
Dear OLPH Family and Friends,
You might remember last week’s Gospel in which Jesus sent the disciples, two by two, to experience their first missionary endeavor. Jesus sent them with nothing but their own experience of hearing and observing Him. He gifted them with power over evil spirits and a dependence on each other. Today’s reading is sort of a transition from one scene to another and a setup for the scene to come when thousands will find their nourishment in Jesus.
As the scene opens, Mark tells us that the Apostles gathered with Jesus. This is the only time in Mark’s Gospel that the disciples are called apostles. They have come back from their mission and Jesus invites them to “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” This invitation should not surprise us. We know from Psalm 23 that this is what the Lord does. He gives us repose in verdant pastures and by restful waters so we can refresh our souls. It was more than an invitation to take a nap. It was a call for dep reflection for the Apostles are now leaders and, as we are warned by Jeremiah, they must be cautious so as not to lead the Lord’s sheep astray. As with the example of Jesus, they must take time to pray. As with the effort in today’s Gospel, the best of intentions to pray are not always successful. I believe it was the great St. Therese who said “the best prayer is the effort to pray.”
Jesus and the disciples arrived at their destination only to find that the crowds were already waiting for them. The disciples did not even have time to eat. Mark tells us that Jesus saw the crowd and “his heart was moved with pity for them for they were like sheep without a shepherd.” We should make every effort to find a place to rest with the Lord so that we can be sure to remember who sends us on mission in the first place; so we can remember who gives us the strength to fulfill that mission. We should make every effort so that when we do go to meet the crowds we can meet them with the same compassion that Jesus did.
May you be truly blessed in this coming week! May you find some time and space to rest with the Lord! Peace and Blessings!