Mark’s gospel makes clear how great was the press of the crowd, with its countless needs to be met, on Jesus and his disciples. Yet in today’s gospel Jesus advises his disciples to get away and rest, to take care of themselves. Sometimes we think that when others are in great need we shouldn’t think of ourselves at all; but Jesus also honors the caregivers’ need. We are sent from Christ’s table to care for others and for ourselves.
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The Lessons: (Link to the Readings)
First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6
Jeremiah prophesied before the exile in 587 bce. In this passage, he uses the metaphor of a shepherd to describe the bad kings who have scattered the “flock” of Israel. God promises to gather the flock and to raise up a new king from David’s line to save Israel and Judah.
Psalm: Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Ps. 23:1)
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:11-22
The author of this letter is reminding his audience that originally they were not part of God’s chosen people. Through Jesus’ death, however, they are included in God’s household of faith, whose cornerstone is Jesus Christ.
Gospel: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
When Jesus sent his disciples out to teach and heal, they ministered among large numbers of people. Their work was motivated by Christ’s desire to be among those in need.
O God, powerful and compassionate, you shepherd your people, faithfully feeding and protecting us. Heal each of us, and make us a whole people, that we may embody the justice and peace of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.