16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 23:1-6 II:
30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done
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.
33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot
from all the towns, and got there ahead of them.
34 As he went ashore 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.
- Between the passage we read last week about Jesus sending the disciples out
(Mk 6:7-13) and the passage of this week about the returning disciples, is a
passage on the death of John the Baptist. Such "sandwiching" is a device by
Mark to say that the disciples would be persecuted.
- This passage also sets the stage for the feeding of the five thousand, which we will
read from the Gospel of John on the next five Sundays. "To a lonely place"
shows that not much food was available, and the feeding was miraculous.
- People there eat leisurely and socially. If the disciples stay in town,
people would continue to come to them. If the disciples eat in town, other
people would come and share. In order that the disciples can eat leisurely
and bond among themselves after being apart on mission, Jesus takes them away
from other people.
- A shepherd nurtures and protects the sheep. Jesus as shepherd contrasts
with Herod killing John the Baptist in the preceding passage. Before feeding
the people, Jesus provides what is even more important: teaching them. [Hamm]
One Main Point
The disciples of Jesus would be persecuted, but Jesus would
lead and feed his people with the help of the disciples.
- Do I take time to rest and to bond with other disciples of Jesus, and with
- Who is my shepherd, and do I follow the teaching of my shepherd?
- Have I experienced persecution? How does Jesus take care of me?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community