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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday 4th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Kgs 3:4-15): Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, because that was the most renowned high place. Upon its altar Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings. In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, «Ask something of me and I will give it to you».

Solomon answered: «You have shown great favor to your servant, my father David, because he behaved faithfully toward you, with justice and an upright heart; and you have continued this great favor toward him, even today, seating a son of his on his throne. O Lord, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?».

The Lord was pleased that Solomon made this request. So God said to him: «Because you have asked for this —not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right— I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you. In addition, I give you what you have not asked for, such riches and glory that among kings there is not your like».
Responsorial Psalm: 118
R/. Lord, teach me your statutes.
How shall a young man be faultless in his way? By keeping to your words.

With all my heart I seek you; let me not stray from your commands.

Within my heart I treasure your promise, that I may not sin against you.

Blessed are you, o Lord; teach me your statutes.

With my lips I declare all the ordinances of your mouth.

In the way of your decrees I rejoice, as much as in all riches.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:27): Alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 6,30-34): The apostles returned and reported to Jesus all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, «Go off by yourselves to a remote place and have some rest». For there were so many people coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a secluded area by themselves. But people saw them leaving and many could guess where they were go­ing. So, from all the towns they hurried there on foot, arriving ahead of them. As Jesus went ashore he saw a large crowd, and he had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began a long teaching session with them.

«‘Go off by yourselves to a remote place and have some rest’. For there were so many people coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat»

Fr. David COMPTE i Verdaguer (Manlleu, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel proposes a situation, a need and a paradox; all, very real in our time, too.

The situation. The Apostles are “overworked”: «There were so many people coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat» (Mk 6:30). Quite often we are facing the same kind of stress. Our work consumes a good share of our energy; the family, where each member seeks our love; the other activities which we are engaged in, which do good to us while benefiting third parties... If you wish... you can? Maybe it would be sounder admitting we cannot do all we would like to...

The need. Our body, our head and our heart have a need: to rest. In these few verses we have an often ignored manual about resting, where communication is emphasized. The Apostles «returned and reported to Jesus all they had done and taught» (Mk 6:30). Communication with God, following the thread of what is more cherished to our heart. And —o surprise!— we find God is already awaiting. And He hopes to find us with our tiredness.

Jesus tells them: «Go off by yourselves to a remote place and have some rest» (Mk 6:31). In God's plans there is a place of rest! But there is more, as our whole existence, with all that entails, must rest in God. An anxious saint Augustine claims: «You made us for you and our heart is restless while not resting with You». God's rest is creative; not “anesthetic”: bumping into God's love focus on our heart and our thoughts.

The paradox. The Gospel scene has a “bad” ending: for the disciples cannot rest. God's plan fails: they are being approached by the crowd. They have not been able to “disconnect”. We often cannot get rid of our obligations either (children, wife, work...): it would be to betray ourselves! And yet, we must find God in these realities. If there is communication with God, if our heart rests in Him, we shall play down upon our useless tensions... and reality —free of chimeras— will better show God's sign. In Him, that's where we should rest!

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