Following the misleading of his people, the Lord showed his displeasure for the shepherds who did not care for his people, and decided to punish them. He himself will gather the remnant of his flock from all the lands to which he had driven them and bring them back to their meadow. He will appoint shepherds for them, and raise up a righteous shoot to David, who will reign and govern wisely. He will be named “The Lord our justice (Jeremiah 23:1-6).” This is what Jesus has come to accomplish, who sent out his apostles on their divine mission to gather the remnants of God’s people.
After accomplishing the mission for which Jesus sent them out two by two, the apostles now returned to Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. To provide them with a little time of recollection and refreshment, he invited them to come away to an out-of-the-way place, for rest. This was made impossible by the people, who were coming and going in great numbers, not even allowing them time, to eat. Even when they went off with Jesus in the boat by themselves to a deserted place, the people saw them leaving, and hastened on foot to the place, arriving ahead of them. On disembarking, Jesus saw a vast crowd, and pitied them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd, and so began to teach them at length (Mark 6:30-34).
Like the apostles, we should not engage in activities, without coming back to Jesus in a quiet place to take stock of what we have been doing. We need this quiet time, for reflections, and even extended retreat in secluded places. Moments of solitude, reflections and prayers help us as disciples, to realize that Jesus is the Christ. In these moments, we come to know that, the work we do, are only a participation in God’s ongoing work of creating, redeeming, sanctifying, forming and making all things new. God himself is the worker. He is the creator. Jesus also did not engage in activities without having time to go up the mountain to be alone with the Father in prayer. St. Matthew reported to us that after feeding about five thousand men, not counting women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish, he made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray (Matthew 14:13-23). This is the formation he wants to give his disciples, to always combine contemplation and action. As he found it necessary to be with the Father at all times, so does he want his disciples to be with him even in the midst of their activities.
Jesus would tell us that he does nothing, except what he sees the Father doing (John 5:19). To see what Jesus does and replicate them with our activities, we have to be alone with him, in order to successfully do what God wants of us. Many times, we encounter distractions. People keep coming with their needs, but in the midst of these, we should not lose charity. We must handle it in the way and manner of Jesus Christ. When we find ourselves in such situations, we should have pity on those who are like sheep without a shepherd, and teach them at great length. Teaching, here, is revealing Jesus’ love, mercy, and compassion.
Jesus wants his apostles to bring him to people and people to him, so that he can address each person, in his or she needs. Jesus’ teaching is the revelation of his healing presence, as well as his transforming presence. It is a presence that addresses each person’s conditions. To be able to bring Jesus to people and bring people to Jesus, we need to know what Jesus has done in our lives. In that light, St. Paul shares the experience of the working of Jesus in reconciling Jews and Gentiles. While the Gentiles did not have the privileges or promises of Israel, not even the hope of the Messiah, but now in Christ through his blood and death on the cross, God has destroyed any distinction between them, Jews and Gentiles. By so doing, he has brought about unity of all in Christ. Now, Jesus Christ is our peace. He has made Jews and Gentiles one, abolishing the distinction between them. It is through Jesus Christ that we now have access in one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:13-18). Let us pray that having been reconciled in Christ, we might bring him to all God’s children to be reconciled in him and form one great fellowship of love.