Sunday, July 18
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.
In last week’s gospel, Jesus sent his apostles out to teach, heal, cast out demons, and to call people to repentance. In this week’s gospel we are told of their return, excited over their experience but were tired and needed to rest. Jesus wanted some time off, too, but he couldn’t. The mission of Jesus and his apostles was apparently so successful that a great crowd caught up with them. The gospel says: “…His heart was moved with deep sympathy for them. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd…” – people without leadership – and he continued to teach them.
One of the important messages in the gospel, as well as all our readings this weekend, is that in love Our Lord leads us by teaching us and appointing others to teach us. We’ll never be finished listening and learning as long as our world and country suffers from many divisions, injustice, poverty, hunger, discrimination, racism, war, hatred and killing of innocent people. Christ would be put to death before he would stop teaching. It is one of the reasons we gather week by week for Mass to listen and to learn…and then be sent. Whatever unites us needs to be stronger than what divides us. Christ came to unite us in peace through the saving power of the cross and the gift of his very self in the Eucharist.
As we approach the altar this weekend to receive Christ in the Eucharist, may we realize that in our diversity and struggles, we are united in the Body of Christ. May we also welcome our newly assigned parochial vicar and thank God for sending him to us so we can continue to listen and learn as Fr. Tim Lynch celebrates the Mass, preaches, teaches, and helps guide us so we can be Christ’s disciples (a word that means “learner”) to all we meet in the days, months, and years ahead.
-Deacon Frank Iannarino