First Reading: Heb 13:15-17. 20-21; Psalm: 23. R. v. 1; Gospel: Mk 6:30-34
THE HEART OF A TRUE SHEPHERD
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
When the apostles returned from their missionary assignment, they reported to Jesus all they had done and taught. Jesus obviously was impressed with their effort and felt they deserved some rest since the people kept coming and going that they had no chance to rest. And so Jesus said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.”
When they crossed over by a boat to the other side, they met the same crowd they left behind at the other side because the crowd hurried down before them. Jesus had to suspend his rest to attend to the crowd because they were like sheep without shepherd. The description “like sheep without a shepherd” indicates vulnerability. A condition that demands urgent attention. Because a sheep without a shepherd is exposed to danger and can go astray. This was what moved Jesus to suspend his rest.
Jesus is saying to us that rest from work is important in order to recharge our batteries for the work ahead. But that there are situations that may demand we suspend our rest temporarily in order to attend to them. A medical doctor may deserve some rest after a stressful day at work. But once there is an emergency and the doctor happens to be the only one available to help, he will be compelled to forfeit his rest. And even if he decides not to, he will actually not have a peaceful rest. When the human condition is in danger, rest can become unpeaceful. So, inasmuch as we need rest, we should be open to serve people when we can; especially when it has to do with a situation that demands urgent attention.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus Christ, give us the strength to make sacrifices for the good of one another. Amen.