Reflection for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Few scenes in the Gospel are more moving, more touching d. than today’s from Saint Mark. Jesus and the apostles are exhausted , they tried to get away from the clamoring crowds and find some rest. They could not even find Tim to eat since the people kept coming and going in such great numbers. So they went off in a boat to a deserted place. They tried to get away from it all. But the crowds walked around the Lake of Galileo and were waiting as they landed. Good people took time out of their busy schedule to search for the Messiah. They walked a good distance under the blazing sun. Motivated by the miracle of Jesus, the people were looking for help and guidance. Who were they? They were the poor, the broken-hearted, the downtrodden from all walks of life -human beings whose hearts were restless until they rested in God. They were looking for something ” more”
Jesus saw the crowd and called them sheep without a Shepherd. Perhaps today we need a new metaphor. Perhaps we should say they were sick without a doctor, students without a teacher, crowd without a leader. They were people without an inspiration, a model. They were looking for something more in life.
Jesus did something about their plight. ” he began to teach them at great length.” He performed no miracles at first but taught them. He gave them goals, perspective, truth to live by. Later would come the feeding of the five thousand. Later would come the miracle of the five loaves to feed the crowd. He taught them first about the kingdom of God.
Think of the people in today’s Gospel. Do we take time from our schedules to seek out Christ? Have we traveled a great distance to meet Him? To whom we belong? Tat is a crucial question. Do we belong to the secular world with its fads and fashions? Do we belong to the secular world with its materialistic goals and priorities? Do we belong to Christ or are we like sheep without a Shepherd?
Think of the heart of Christ and how it beat with pity and compassion for the crowd. Christ today sees the crowd and is moved with compassion because they are bewildered , dejected, and confused – like sheep without a Shepherd. Christ devoted his life to others. He gave himself to others as a Shepherd sacrificing his own personal life so that he might serve and rescue them. Jesus represents the caring presence of God teaching and feeding his flock with divine revelation. Jesus continues to Shepherd his people through time and spa by his Church. This is where believers are nourished with the food of his word and his body and blood.
What is our response to Christ? Are we like the sheep without a Shepherd? Is that a description of us? Will we return to Christ the good shepherd for direction and new life?
May God bless you all ,
Fr. Dominic
Your brother in Christ!