Scripture Lesson: Mark 6:3–34
Meditation: “. . . his heart was moved with pity for them . . .”
Today’s reading reveals the compassionate heart of Christ, our Master and Shepherd. The apostles are returning home after their firsts apostolic trip, when Jesus sent them to preach, teach, and heal the sick. (See last entry). Now they are returning, tired by enthusiastic, eager to share with Jesus all that they have experienced during these first days of ministry. How delighted Jesus is as he listens to their accounts of casting out demons and anointing and healing the sick.
He notices their fatigue after these long days away, for he invites them to come away with him and rest. Jesus cares about their health and all the details of their lives, as he does for each of us. But do I really believe this? Do I believe that he is interested in the details of my day, in the challenges that I face each and every day of my life? Yet this is precisely what this Gospel text is telling me. Jesus is interested! He waits eagerly to hear from me, to spend time with me, so he crosses the lake in order to find this time and space.
Yet on the lake’s far shore a “surprise” awaits Jesus, and perhaps me, too. The time and space that we had sought together are not to be found this day, for the needy crowd is waiting for him. They are longing to see Jesus, to hear his words and to be healed by his presence. With his compassionate heart Jesus responds to their need.
Perhaps on this particular day Jesus wants to show me, to teach me to what extent love must go. It does not seek its own comfort, its own convenience, but instead gives of itself to the fullest. It does not focus on its own need, but rather on the needs and cares of others. Am I ready to accept the challenge?
Jesus, through your life and example you teach me how to love, and sow me to what extent that love must go. You did not stop when, tired and hungry, you desired some quiet time with your disciples. You instead reached out to the crowd in their need, giving yourself to the fullest. Show me how to do this in my life. Teach me always to respond with compassion to my brothers and sisters, to my neighbors.
Jesus, compassionate and great of heart, make my heart like yours!
Adapted from, “Ordinary Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections,” (C) 2011, Daughters of St. Paul