16B – 22 July 2018
Crowds and Compassion
Message by: Fr Richard M Healey
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The simple program that I use to create the videos created the video in 4:3 format, rather than 16:9 - and you cannot change it. I didn't have the energy to start again with a new project.
The twelve “ones sent out” return from their successful mission, given in the Gospel last Sunday (see 6:7-13). Now, after an interlude during which the death of John the Baptist – slain for his faithful sharing in the mission of Jesus – has been reported (6:14-29), ‘the ones sent out’ return to Jesus (v. 30) and gather around him. But now they return, full of their own importance. Instead of recognising that all they did depended entirely upon Jesus who sent them, they ‘told him all that they had done and taught’ (v. 30). They are under the false impression that their own authority has empowered their deeds and words. Like John the Baptist, the Twelve must follow the way of the cross of Jesus – not a world of their own making.
Jesus, obviously in need to find space to grieve the death of his cousin and mentor John, also recognises the need of the 12 to have space alone with him to refocus. Jesus leads the disciples to a quiet place across the lake – but the crowds anticipate where he is going and walk ahead around the shore. When he sees them as they approach the land, Jesus has compassion on them, because they are like sheep without a shepherd.
Behind the scene of the quiet place where Jesus has led his disciples and the people are the words of the Psalm: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul’ (Ps 23:1-3). Disciples may fail in their arrogance; those searching for an answer to their needs may lose their way in the hustle and bustle of life. Neither the failed disciple nor the hassled searcher is ever abandoned by a God whose love is made known to us in Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Text adapted from Francis J. Moloney SDB, THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD, Year B, (Strathfield: St Paul’s, 2017)