The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations/)
“When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity…” These words of today’s gospel are striking in their simplicity. The heart of God can be moved! The heart of God can be so touched by our miserable condition that it is motivated to reach out and save us. What a wonderful reality this is. There is no greater joy for God than to give of himself to us needy creatures.
We are invited today to re-entrust ourselves and our misery to the Good Shepherd. We need to bleat out our needs to him. He is waiting for us to open the door to him (cf. Rev. 3:20). He knows us better than we know ourselves and he recognizes our unique voice and has a unique love for each one of us. He creates us intimately and he loves us with the same intimacy. Though sheep are not particularly intelligent creatures, they do know the voice of their master perfectly and they follow only his voice. We must develop in the course of our lives a kind of listening prayer that is able to parse out the voice of our true shepherd from the cacophony of other voices around us.
We rejoice today that we have a true shepherd in Christ, and we rejoice in those “secondary shepherds” who truly model their lives after him. These “secondary shepherds” lead us back to the one Shepherd, Christ. And Christ always leads us back to the Father, in the same Spirit of love. What are our needs today? Let us make them clearly known to the Good Shepherd.
—Fr. Anthony Wieck, S.J.
Lord, we pray for the grace to feel your presence through our thoughts, circumstances, and moments of love that weave in and out of our day. We know that more times than not, the “feeling” is transitory. And that’s okay.
Our life meaning is not advanced by a feeling, but it is anchored in the guarantee of your personal care for every aspect of our lives. To this claim we cling. Though storms may pound the securities and loves of our lives, we will not be vanquished. We will triumph through a reciprocal faithfulness: you being there for us and we being there for you.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!