Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Saint Paul Miki (1562-+1597) and Companions, Patron Saint of Japan
Letter to the Hebrews 13:15-17, 20-21, Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5-6, & Mark 6:30-34
Today's reading brings up the much-loved image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The first reading from Hebrews speaks of people who lead us and of God as "the great shepherd of the sheep." Then we have the beautiful Twenty-Third Psalm reminding us that the Lord is Our Shepherd and He will "lead us into green pastures."
The Gospel narrative of Saint Mark shows Jesus as a leader who takes good care of His apostles, even taking them away to rest on a kind of mini-vacation or retreat. Jesus doesn't get to rest; people eager for His leadership travel overland to where He and His men arrive by boat. Jesus sees that the crowd is "like sheep without a shepherd." What does He do? He "began to teach them many things."
It is very appealing to hear Jesus' invitation to "rest a while" in today's busy world. In this confusing world of clashing values, it is good to contemplate the figure of Jesus as the Leader, Shepherd, and teacher, who sees that people need food and rest and need knowledge and understanding. So "Jesus began to teach them many things." I believe today's Gospel is a reminder for us to pray, "Jesus, teach me!"
Friends, I suggest that we pray for all the leaders that we have. We pray for our public leaders, religious leaders, community leaders, supervisors, teachers, and parents. We pray that they may be good shepherds of those over who they have authority and for whom, in turn, they bear responsibility. Additionally, let us pray that they also will be good sheep, in that the Good Shepherd of all will lead them. Let God, in His Son, our loving Savior, lead us to the "verdant pastures" of prosperity and by the "restful waters" of peace.
Question of the Day: How will you lead people to Christ?
Prayer: "My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me. Alleluia, alleluia."