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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
1st Reading (Jer 23:1-6): Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: «You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the Lord. Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: “The Lord our justice”».
Responsorial Psalm: 22
R/. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.

He guides me in right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.

You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.
2nd Reading (Eph 2:13-18): Brothers and sisters: In Christ Jesus you who once were far off, have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
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 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.

«Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while»

Fr. David AMADO i Fernández (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel invites us to discover the importance of resting in the Lord. The Apostles were retuning from the mission on which Jesus had sent them. They cast out demons, cured the sick and preached the Gospel. They were tired and Jesus told them: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” (Mk 6:31).

One of the temptations to which any Christian can succumb is that of wanting to do too many things and thus leaving the Lord a little to the side. The Catechism reminds us that, when it comes to prayer, one of the biggest dangers is that you can easily think that there are bigger, more important and more urgent things to be done, leading to a lack of care for the things of God. For this reason Jesus tells the Apostles, who have worked hard, are exhausted though euphoric because everything has gone so well, that they must rest. The Gospel says “they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place” (Mk 6:32).

To be able to pray properly you need at least two things: the first is to be with Jesus as He is the person with whom we are going to talk. Make sure that you are with Him. For this reason all times of prayer normally begin with an act of presence of God which is often the most difficult part. We must make ourselves conscious of the fact that we are truly with Him. The second thing is that we must be alone. If we really want to talk with someone, to have an intimate and profound conversation we choose to be alone with them.

Saint Peter Julian Eymard recommended that one should rest with Jesus after receiving Holy Communion. He warned of the danger of filling thanksgiving after Communion with many memorised words. He said that, after receiving the Body of Christ, the best thing to do is to stay in silence for a while to regain our strength and to let Jesus talk to us in the silence of our hearts. Sometimes, rather than telling Him about our plans and projects it is better that we let Jesus instruct and encourage us.