Thứ Bảy, 21 tháng 7, 2018

JULY 22, 2018 : SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME


Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 107

Reading 1JER 23:1-6
Woe to the shepherds
who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture,
says the LORD. 
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
against the shepherds who shepherd my people:
You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. 
You have not cared for them,
but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. 
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock
from all the lands to which I have driven them
and bring them back to their meadow;
there they shall increase and multiply. 
I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them
so that they need no longer fear and tremble;
and none shall be missing, says the LORD.

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
as king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
"The LORD our justice."
Responsorial PsalmPS 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Reading 2EPH 2:13-18
Brothers and sisters:
In Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have become near by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he who made both one
and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,
that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two,
thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God,
in one body, through the cross,
putting that enmity to death by it. 
He came and preached peace to you who were far off
and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

AlleluiaJN 10:27
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
GospelMK 6:30-34
The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught. 
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” 
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat. 
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. 
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. 
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.



Meditation: "Come away and rest a while"
What does the image of a shepherd tell us about God's care for us? Shepherding was one of the oldest of callings in Israel, even before farming, since the Chosen People had traveled from place to place, living in tents, and driving their flocks from one pasture to another. Looking after sheep was no easy calling. It required great skill and courage. Herds were often quite large, thousands or even ten thousands of sheep. The flocks spent a good part of the year in the open country. Watching over them required a great deal of attention and care. 
Stray sheep must be brought back lest they die
Sheep who strayed from the flock had to be sought out and brought back by the shepherd. Since hyenas, jackals, wolves, and even bear were common and fed on sheep, the shepherds often had to do battle with these wild and dangerous beasts. A shepherd literally had to put his life on the line in defending his sheep. Shepherds took turns watching the sheep at night to ward off any attackers. The sheep and their shepherds continually lived together. Their life was so intimately bound together that individual sheep, even when mixed with other flocks, could recognize the voice of their own shepherd and would come immediately when called by name.
God himself leads us like a good shepherd
The Old Testament often spoke of God as shepherd of his people, Israel. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1) We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God's people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11). 
Jesus told his disciples that he was the Good Shepherd who was willing to lay down his life for his sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4, John 10). When he saw the multitude of people in need of protection and care, he was moved to respond with compassionate concern. His love was a personal love for each and every person who came to him in need. 
Jesus is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls
Peter the apostle called Jesus the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). Do you know the peace and security of a life freely submitted to Jesus, the Good Shepherd? In the person of the Lord Jesus we see the unceasing vigilance and patience of God's love. In our battle against sin and evil, Jesus is ever ready to give us help, strength, and refuge. Do you trust in his grace and help at all times?
"Lord Jesus, you guard and protect us from all evil. Help me to stand firm in your word and to trust in your help in all circumstances. May I always find rest and refuge in the shelter of your presence."
Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe good shepherd feeds us with the words of God, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"The pastures that this good shepherd has prepared for you, in which he has settled you for you to take your fill, are not various kinds of grasses and green things, among which some are sweet to the taste, some extremely bitter, which as the seasons succeed one another are sometimes there and sometimes not. Your pastures are the words of God and his commandments, and they have all been sown as sweet grasses. These pastures had been tasted by that man who said to God, 'How sweet are your words to my palate, more so than honey and the honeycomb in my mouth!' (Psalm 119:103)." (excerpt from Sermon 366.3)



16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

Note: Where a Scripture text is underlined in the body of this discussion, it is recommended that the reader look up and read that passage.

1st Reading - Jeremiah 23:1-6


Jeremiah is classed as the second of the four major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, & Daniel). They are called “major” because of the length of the works attributed to them. Jeremiah is another of the reluctant prophets – he frequently protests, in his conversations with God, his dislike of proclaiming the message of destruction. He lived at the same time as Ezekiel (who we studied two weeks ago) and also at the same time as Zephaniah, Nahum, & Baruch (who was his secretary). Jeremiah came from a priestly family and was called by God as an adolescent (628 B.C.). His ministry lasted about 40 years. In order to make it clear that it is God’s words he is reporting, he uses the phrase “says the Lord” 338 times in his writing.

At the beginning of Jeremiah’s ministry we find that Palestine is divided into two kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Part of Israel is a province of Assyria and the rest, along with Judah, is an Assyrian vassal state. The Assyrians had been the leading power in the near east for about 200 years and as a result of political influence Judah has experienced a resurgence of idolatry. The Assyrian empire, however, had crumbled and after about 625 B.C. there was no effective Assyrian government in Palestine. In 621 B.C. the Book of the Law was discovered in the Temple and Josiah (king 639-609 B.C.) led a thorough reform in Judah which extended into the northern kingdom. This was a move of independence and it must be assumed that a number of people had remained faithful to God’s covenant and supported the king. During Josiah’s reign a solemn ceremony was conducted and the Mosaic covenant was renewed. There followed total destruction of all the high places where idolatrous practices were performed which kept Jerusalem as a unique cultic center. Josiah died in 609 B.C. (some historians think he was assassinated while others believe he died in battle). His son Johoahaz was proclaimed king by the people but 3 months later was taken prisoner and brought to Egypt. Jehoiakim was installed as king by Pharaoh Necco III. Jeremiah upbraided him for his servility to the Egyptians, saying it would cause his downfall and ruin the country. Jeremiah had not favored pacts against the Medes and had prophesied that the Babylonians would prevail and that Jerusalem would be destroyed. In 605 B.C. all Syria and Palestine came under the control of Babylon and their king, Nebuchadnezzar.

When Jehoiakim died in 597 (probably assassinated) he was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin who 3 months later surrendered to the Babylonians and was deported along with the queen mother, the entire court, many nobles and people of every class except the poorest (Ezekiel was among these exiles). Zedekiah was installed as the newest (and last) king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. Today’s reading is an oracle about this last king.
Jeremiah and Baruch had stayed behind during the deportation but later were taken by some of their countrymen to Egypt. The temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Jewish tradition has it that Jeremiah was starved to death by his fellow exiles.

23:1 Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD.

The reference here is to bad shepherds – the kings.

2 Therefore,

Whenever this word appears, look to see what it is “there” for. It draws a conclusion or summarizes a teaching just made.

thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds. 3 I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow;

God Himself is taking control; the rulers have failed in their job.

there they shall increase and multiply. 4 I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD.  5 Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,

The term “the days are coming” is simply a means of calling attention to a very solemn proclamation.

when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;

A classic term synonymous with the Messiah (see Isaiah 11:1)

As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security.

Both Judah and Israel will share in the salvation of the messiah.

This is the name they give him: “The LORD our justice.”
 
This is a word play on Zedekiah’s name. Zedekiah means “my justice is God” and here the Messiah is given the name “God is our justice.” Isaiah had already given a similar name to this future king “Emmanuel” (God is with us) (Isaiah 7:14). Justice means both God’s saving present and action.

Comment: The ideal kingship (one which will realize the blessings of the covenant) can be seen in 2 Samuel 7 and is repeated in Psalms 2, 45, 72, 89, & 110. Prophets in dark times when kings were unfaithful, recalled this and promised its realization in the future using terms similar to those of Jeremiah here (Isaiah 9:5-6; 11:1-9; Micah 5:1-5; Amos 9:11; Hosea 3:5).

Like his predecessors, Jeremiah predicts the restoration of the Davidic dynasty, not necessarily politically, but on the level of the religious and moral obligations of the covenant. As Peter Kreeft said in his book The God Who Loves You (Servant Books, Ann Arbor, MI, 1988), “Prophets are like fingers, not like faces. We are not meant to look at them but to the reality to which they point.”

2nd Reading - Ephesians 2:13-18

Last week’s second reading was the prayer of blessing in which God’s plan is revealed and accomplished (Ephesians 1:3-14). We now move along to the section of St. Paul’s letter which describes the union of Jew and Gentile.

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace,

Through His death on the cross Christ has abolished the division of mankind into Jews and Gentiles. The Gentiles, who had been excluded from the old covenant, and the accompanying blessings, are now included in the New Covenant on an equal basis with the Jews. A covenant which has been ritually accomplished with the blood of Christ. Jesus’ obedience to God’s wishes, to the point of a sacrificial death, has atoned for the disobedience of Adam, and also for the sin of the golden calf. (see also Colossians 1:20-22). Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:4).

he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity,

Not only an emotional barrier but a physical one as well. Josephus tells us that in the temple there was a stone wall 3 cubits (approximately 6 feet) high separating the outer court from the inner court (The Wars of the Jews, 5.5.2§193-194). On this wall were signs prohibiting any foreigner from going further under the pain of death.

“Thus was the first enclosure, in the midst of which, and not far from it, was the second, to be gone up to by a few steps; this was encompassed by a stone wall for a partition, with an inscription, which forbade any foreigner to go in, under pain of death.” (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 15.11,5§417).

In Acts 21:28-31 we see the crowd trying to kill Paul because they thought he had brought an Ephesian Gentile into the Temple and thereby defiled it; Gentiles being unclean because they were mere idolaters. This could also be a reference to the veil which separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.

“The law that He abolished was that which had been given to the Jews concerning circumcision and new moons and food and sacrifices and the Sabbath. He ordered it to cease because it was a burden, In this way He made peace” (The Ambrosiaster (A.D. 366-384), Commentaries on Thirteen Pauline Epistles, Ephesians 2:15).

through his flesh,

Certainly by His death, quite possibly a Eucharistic reference.

15 abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,

Because they are now a holy nation, a nation of priests, the requirements of the Levitical law are no longer applicable. They are no longer God’s servants/slaves but his children and the need for the old law has been fulfilled (Matthew 5:17). The old law had precepts of a moral, legal, and liturgical type. The moral precepts still hold but with greater weight and meaning. The legal and liturgical precepts applied to slaves/servants, not to free people of God. The law of the Old Testament (Covenant), although from God and therefore good and holy, created an unbridgeable gap between God and man because man, by himself, could not keep the Law (Acts 15:7-11). Christ, through grace, has created a new man who can keep the very essence of the law -- obedience (which is the living out of love).

that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace,

Jesus is the new man because he is the new Adam – the one who stands for both Jew and Gentile. We, the Church, are the body of Christ.

“Don’t you see? The Greek does not have to become a Jew. Rather both enter into a new condition. His aim is not to bring Greek believers into being as different kinds of Jews but rather to create both anew. Rightly he uses the term ‘create’ rather than ‘change’ to point out the great effect of what God has done. Even though the creation is invisible it is no less a creation of its Creator” [Saint John Chrysostom (A.D. 392-397), Homilies On The Epistle To The Ephesians, 5,2,13-15].

16 and might reconcile both with God, in one body,

One Church, one faith, one body of Christ.

through the cross,

By becoming the one perfect sacrifice which inaugurates the New Covenant.

putting that enmity to death by it. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near,

Points out the fulfillment of Isaiah 57:19b.

18 for through him we both have access

Prior to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, man was excluded from the Father’s house; he lived more like a slave than a son (Galatians 4:1-5); he had no inheritance. Now we have the spirit of sonship and with it the right of inheritance (Romans 8:15-17).

in one Spirit to the Father.

This implies two basic facts:
1)    Christians are bound together by the Holy Spirit who acts in them.
2)    The Holy Spirit is always present and continually active in the Church, the mystical body of Christ.

Comment: Notice that we have references to “him,” “Spirit” and “Father” This is a Trinitarian formula. Through Jesus’ humanity, the source of the Spirit, men can approach God the Father. Note also the prepositions: access to the Father, through the Son, in the
Spirit.

Gospel - Mark 6:30-34

Last week’s Gospel reading told of the sending out of the apostles two by two. This week we skip over an interlude concerning the beheading of John the Baptist and now the apostles return.

30 The apostles gathered together with Jesus

This is the only place in the Gospel of Mark where the twelve are called “apostles” - one who is sent. They are usually called disciples - students. In the verse immediately preceding our reading today, St. Mark refers to John the Baptist’s disciples and thus must refer to the twelve as apostles for reasons of clarity.

and reported all they had done and taught.

An interesting phrase because their commission when they were sent out two by two was to preach redemption. This is quite possibly a post-resurrection viewpoint which is being expressed.

31 He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. 32 So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.

Like when Jesus had returned home to Nazareth (10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B). This shows the intensity of Jesus’ public ministry. A Christian must be ready to sacrifice his time and rest in service of the Gospel. This attitude should lead us to change our plans when the good of souls is at stake. But Jesus also teaches here to have the common sense not to go to extremes with which we cannot physically cope. St. Bede The Venerable, in commenting on this passage, said “The Lord makes his disciples rest, to show those in charge that people who work or preach cannot do so without breaks.” (Homilies on the Gospels, 2, 21).

33 People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

The crowd, on foot, beat Jesus and His disciples in their boat. The crowd was not expected. Because they were to travel without food, this sets the stage for the multiplication of the loaves which we will hear next week.

34 When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,

Not only is he not annoyed, he shows compassion. He recognizes their spiritual need and changes His plans and begins to preach.

for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

This depicts Jesus as the Good Shepherd (See Numbers 27:17, 1 Kings 22:17, Ezekiel 34:5-6). Jesus takes care of the people.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Picayune, MS http://www.scborromeo.org


SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
SUNDAY, JULY 22, MARK 6:30-34

(Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:13-18)

KEY VERSE: His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd" (v 34).
TO KNOW: When Jesus' disciples returned from their mission, they reported all they had said and done in his name. Like Jesus, the disciples were servants of the people. As the disciples ministered to the people, so many came to them that they did not have time to eat. As a wise shepherd of his flock, Jesus knew that his followers must tend to their bodily as well as their spiritual needs. He invited them to come with him to a secluded place in order to rest. The crowds saw Jesus going away, and so they went around the lake on foot. When Jesus and his disciples arrived by boat to what they thought was a "deserted place," the people were already there to meet them. Instead of being annoyed by this inconvenience, Jesus took pity on them for they were "like sheep without a shepherd." Ignoring his own need for rest, Jesus began to "teach them many things" (v. 34).
TO LOVE: Do I remember to take time for rest and relaxation so as to serve God's people?
TO SERVE: Lord Jesus, help me to be sensitive to the needs of those to whom I minister.​

Sunday 22 July 2018

Week IV Psalter. 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Jeremiah 23:1-6. Psalm 22(23). Ephesians 2:13-18. Mark 6:30-34.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want—Psalm 22(23).
‘He will be called “The-Lord-is-our-Saving-Justice”.’
‘Shepherds’, says Jeremiah, ‘you have allowed God’s flock to be destroyed and scattered.’ But Jesus is a different sort of shepherd. He does not allow the flock to be destroyed.
Rather, Jesus teaches people how to live. He gives us a deeper freedom, while also paving a way for us to follow. He provides hope to all who come to him.
Lord, show us how to give our lives, as you gave yours, so that all men and woman may come in one Spirit to find our common Father.
Jesus, be our good shepherd.


Saint Mary Magdalene
Saint of the Day for July 22
(d. c. 63)
 
Saint Mary Magdalene, Head hands and feet | photo by Simon Webster | flicker
Saint Mary Magdalene’s Story
Except for the mother of Jesus, few women are more honored in the Bible than Mary Magdalene. Yet she could well be the patron of the slandered, since there has been a persistent legend in the Church that she is the unnamed sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7:36-50.
Most Scripture scholars today point out that there is no scriptural basis for confusing the two women. Mary Magdalene, that is, “of Magdala,” was the one from whom Christ cast out “seven demons” (Luke 8:2)—an indication at the worst, of extreme demonic possession or possibly, severe illness.
Writing in the New Catholic Commentary, Father Wilfrid J. Harrington, O.P., says that “seven demons” “does not mean that Mary had lived an immoral life—a conclusion reached only by means of a mistaken identification with the anonymous woman of Luke 7:36.” In the Jerome Biblical Commentary, Father Edward Mally, SJ, agrees that she “is not…the same as the sinner of Luke 7:37, despite the later Western romantic tradition about her.”
Mary Magdalene was one of the many “who were assisting them [Jesus and the Twelve] out of their means.” She was one of those who stood by the cross of Jesus with his mother. And, of all the “official” witnesses who might have been chosen for the first awareness of the Resurrection, she was the one to whom that privilege was given. She is known as the “Apostle to the Apostles.”

Reflection
Mary Magdalene has been a victim of mistaken identity for almost 20 centuries. Yet she would no doubt insist that it makes no difference. We are all sinners in need of the saving power of God, whether our sins have been lurid or not. More importantly, we are all “unofficial” witnesses of the Resurrection.

Saint Mary Magdalene is the Patron Saint of:
Penitents
Perfumers


LECTIO: 16TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME (B)
Lectio Divina: 
 Sunday, July 22, 2018
Jesus feels compassion for the people
The Banquet of Life – Jesus invites to sharing
Mark 6:30-34

1. OPENING PRAYER
Lord Jesus, send Your Spirit to help us to read the Scriptures with the same mind that You read them to the disciples on the way to Emmaus. In the light of the Word, written in the Bible, You helped them to discover the presence of God in the disturbing events of Your sentence and death. Thus, the cross that seemed to be the end of all hope became for them the source of life and of resurrection.
Create in us silence so that we may listen to Your voice in Creation and in the Scriptures, in events and in people, above all in the poor and suffering. May Your word guide us so that we too, like the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, may experience the force of Your resurrection and witness to others that You are alive in our midst as source of fraternity, justice and peace. We ask this of You, Jesus, son of Mary, who revealed the Father to us and sent us Your Spirit. Amen.
2. READING
a) A key to the reading:
The text on which we will meditate on this 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time is brief. Only five verses. At first sight a few lines seem to be only a brief introduction to the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves in the desert (Mk 6:34-44). But if the Liturgy of this Sunday has underlined these five verses, it means that they contain something very important that perhaps we would not notice if they were only used as an introduction to the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves.
In fact, these five verses reveal a characteristic of Jesus which has always struck and continues to strike us: His concern for health and the formation of the disciples, His accepting and welcoming humanity toward the poor people of Galilee, His tenderness towards people. If the Church, by means of the Sunday Liturgy, invites us to reflect on these aspects of the activity of Jesus, it is in order to encourage us to prolong this same attitude of Jesus in the relationship that we have with others. During this reading we will be very attentive to the minute details of Jesus’ attitude toward others.
b) A division of the text to help in the reading:
Mark 6:30: Revision of the apostolic work
Mark 6:31-32: Concern of Jesus that the disciples get some rest
Mark 6:33: People have other criteria and follow Jesus
Mark 6:34: Moved to compassion, Jesus changes His plan and receives and welcomes the people.
c) The text:
The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
3. A MOMENT OF PRAYERFUL SILENCE
that the Word of God may penetrate and enlighten our life.
4. SOME QUESTIONS
to help us in our personal reflection.
a) Which characteristic of Jesus’ attitude which has pleased you the most and which evoked greatest admiration among the people in Jesus’ time?
b) Jesus’ concern for the disciples and His concern to accept and welcome the people well: both of these are important. Which one of these predominates in Jesus’ attitude?
c) Compare Jesus’ attitude with the attitude of the Good Shepherd of Psalm 23. What strikes you the most?
d) Is the attitude of our community the same as that of Jesus?
5. FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO REACH MORE DEEPLY INTO THE THEME
a)    The context which enlightens the text:
i) Chapter six of Mark shows an enormous contrast! On the one hand, Mark speaks about the banquet of death, held by Herod with the great of Galilee, in the palace of the capital city, during which John the Baptist was killed (Mk 6:17-29). On the other hand, the banquet of life, held by Jesus for the people of Galilee, hungry in the desert, so that they would not perish along the way (Mk 6:35-44). The five verses of this Sunday’s reading (Mk 6:30-34) are placed exactly between these two banquets.
ii) These five verses underline two things:
- they offer a picture of Jesus, the formator of the disciples;
- they indicate that the Good News of Jesus is not only a question of doctrine, but above all of acceptance, of goodness, of tenderness, of availability, of revelation of the love of God.
b) Commentary on the text:
Mark 6:30-32: The welcoming acceptance given to the disciples
These verses indicate that Jesus formed the new leaders. He involved the disciples in the mission and He took them to a more peaceful place so as to be able to rest and do a review of their mission (cf. Lk 10:17-20). He was concerned about their nourishment and their rest, because the work of the mission was such that they did not even have the time to eat (cf. Jn 21:9-13).
Mark 6:33-34: Moved to compassion, Jesus changes His plans and receives the people
The people perceive that Jesus has gone to the other shore of the lake, and they follow Him. When Jesus is getting out of the boat, and sees that crowd, He sacrifices His rest and begins to teach them. Here we can see the state of abandonment in which the people were. Jesus was moved to compassion “because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” The one who reads this parable remembers the Psalm of the Good Shepherd (Ps 23). When Jesus becomes aware that the people have no shepherd, He begins to be their shepherd. He begins to teach. He guides the crowds in the desert of life, and the multitude could then sing, “The Lord is my shepherd. There is nothing I shall want!”
b)    Extending the information:
● A picture of Jesus, the Formator
“To follow” was the term which formed part of the education system of the time. It was used to indicate the relationship between the disciple and the master. The relationship of master-disciple is different from the relationship of professor-pupil. The pupils attend classes given by the professor on a given subject. The disciples “follow” the master and live with him. And it is precisely during this “living together” of three years with Jesus that the disciples received their formation.
Jesus, the Master, is the axis, the center, and the model of formation. In His attitudes  is a proof of the Kingdom.  He incarnates the love of God and reveals it (Mk 6:31; Mt 10:30-31; Lk 15:11-32). Many small gestures mirror this witness of life by which Jesus indicated His presence in the life of the disciples, preparing them for life and for the mission. This was His way of giving a human form to the experience which He Himself had with the Father:
- to involve them in the mission (Mk 6:7; Lk 9:1-2, 10:1);
- once, He reviews this mission with them (Lk 10:17-20);
- He corrects them when they make a mistake or when they want to be the first ones (Mk 10:13-15; Lk 9:46-48);
- He waits for the opportune moment to correct them (Mk 9:33-35);
- He helps them to discern (Mk 9:28-29);
- He challenges them when they are slow (Mk 4:13; 8:14-21);
- He prepares them for the time of conflict (Jn 16:33; Mt 10:17-25);
- He sends them out to observe and to analyze reality (Mk 8:27-29; Jn 4:35; Mt 16:1-3);
- He reflects together with them on the questions of the present moment (Lk 13:1-5);
- He places them before the needs of the multitude (Jn 6:5);   He corrects the mentality of revenge (Lk 9:54-55);
- He teaches that the needs of the multitude are over and above the ritual prescriptions (Mt 12:7,12):
- He fights against the mentality which thinks that sickness is a punishment from God (Jn 9:2-3);
- He spends time alone with them in order to be able to instruct them (Mk 4:34; 7:17; 9:30-31; 10:10; 13:3);
- He knows how to listen, even when dialogue is difficult (Jn 4:7-42);
- He helps them to accept themselves (Lk 22:32);
- He is demanding and asks them to leave everything for His sake (Mk 10:17-31);
- He is severe with hypocrisy (Lk 11:37-53);
- He asks more questions than gives responses (Mk 8:17-21);
- He is firm and does not allow Himself to be turned away from the road (Mk 8:33; Lk 9:54-55).
This is a picture of Jesus, the formator. The formation in the “following of Jesus” was not just the transmission of truth to be learned by heart, but rather a communication of a new experience of God and of life which radiated from Jesus for the disciples. The community which formed around Jesus was the expression of this new experience. Formation led the person to see with other eyes, to have other attitudes. It planted in them a new awareness concerning the mission and themselves. Yes, it made them place their feet side by side with those who were excluded. In some, it produced “conversion” because they accepted the Good News (Mk 1:15).
● How Jesus announces the Good News to the multitude
The fact that John was in prison impels Jesus to return and begin the announcement of the Good News. It was an explosive and creative beginning! Jesus goes around and through all of Galilee: the villages, the towns, the city (Mk 1:39). He visits the communities. Finally He changes residence and goes to live in Capernaum (Mk 1:21; 2:1), a city on the cross roads to several places, and this facilitated proclamation of the message . He practically never stops; He is always on the road. The disciples go with Him everywhere: in the fields, along the streets, on the mountain, in the desert, in the ship, in the synagogues, in the houses. And they go with great enthusiasm!
Jesus helps the people, serving them in many ways: He drives out the evil spirits (Mk 1:39), He cures the sick and those who are possessed by the devil (Mk 1:34), He purifies those who are excluded because of some impurity (Mk 1:40-45), He accepts the marginalized and interacts and eats with them (Mk 2:15). He announces, calls and convokes. He attracts, consoles and helps. This is a passion which is revealed - passion for the Father and for the poor and abandoned people of His land. There He finds people who listen to Him.  He speaks and proclaims the Good News everywhere.
In Jesus, everything is revelation which fascinates or captivates Him from within! He Himself is the proof, the living witness of the Kingdom. In Him one sees what happens when a person allows God to reign, allows God to guide or direct his life. In His way of living and acting together with the others, Jesus transforms nostalgia into hope! All of a sudden people understood: This was what God wanted for His people!
This was the beginning of the announcement of the Good News of the Kingdom which was rapidly absorbed among the villages of Galilee. In a small way, like a seed which grows until it becomes a big tree, under which people could rest (Mk 4:31-32). And people took care to spread the News.
The people of Galilee remained impressed with the way Jesus taught. “A new teaching! Given with authority! Different from that of the scribes!” (Mk 1:22, 27). What Jesus did most was to teach (Mk 2:13; 4:1-2; 6:34). And this was what He used to do (Mk 10:1). More than fifteen times the Gospel of Mark says that Jesus taught. But Mark hardly ever says what He taught. Perhaps he is not interested in the content? It depends on what people understand by content! To teach does not mean to teach only new truths and thus people learn them by heart. The content which Jesus has to give does not only appear in the words, but also in His gestures and in the way in which He enters into relationship with the people. The content is never separated from the person who communicates it. Jesus was a welcoming person (Mk 6:34). He loved the people. Goodness and love, which were visible in His words, formed part of the content. They constitute His temperament. Good content without goodness is like spilled milk. Mark defines the content of the teaching of Jesus as “the Good News of God” (Mk 1:14). The Good News which Jesus proclaimed comes from God and reveals something about God. In everything which God says and does, the traits of the face of God are visible. The experience which He Himself has of God, the experience of the Father, is visible. To reveal God as Father is the source, the content, and the purpose or end of the Good News of Jesus.
6. PRAY WITH PSALM 23 (22)
Yahweh is my shepherd
Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
In grassy meadows He lets me lie.
By tranquil streams He leads me
to restore my spirit.
He guides me in paths of saving justice
as befits His name.
Even were I to walk in a ravine as dark as death
I should fear no danger,
for You are at my side.
Your staff and Your crook are there to soothe me.
You prepare a table for me under the eyes of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup brims over.
Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life.
I make my home in the house of Yahweh
for all time to come.
7. FINAL PRAYER
Lord Jesus, we thank for the word that has enabled us to understand better the will of the Father. May Your Spirit enlighten our actions and grant us the strength to practice what Your Word has revealed to us. May we, like Mary, Your mother, not only listen to but also practice the Word. You who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.