Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1Kngs 3:4-13
Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, because that was the most renowned high place. Upon its altar Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings. In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon answered: “You have shown great favor to your servant, my father David, because he behaved faithfully toward you, with justice and an upright heart; and you have continued this great favor toward him, even today, seating a son of his on his throne. O Lord, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon made this request. So God said to him: “Because you have asked for this– not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right– I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you. In addition, I give you what you have not asked for, such riches and glory that among kings there is not your like.”
Gospel: Mk 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 Jesus 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.
A GOOD SHEPHERD GIVES HIS LIFE FOR HIS SHEEP: In the first reading, Solomon asked for the gift of being a good shepherd to the sheep entrusted to him, and to be a good leader for the chosen people of God. God blessed him with what he had asked and more. In the Gospel, we see that at the time of Jesus the Jewish people had no good leadership, neither political nor religious. Simple but profound teaching, marvelous miracles and authentic life of Jesus gave hope to a people in despair. This causes Jesus to be tired. After hard work, Jesus recommends a desert place for himself and for his disciples to have the much needed rest. But the people reach the place ahead of them. Seeing the plight of the people of the new exodus, Jesus’ heart is moved with pity, and he begins to teach them. He gives priority to the wellbeing of the people than to his own rightful rest. That is the meaning of a good shepherd, and a good leader.
Prayer: Help us O Lord, to place ourselves at the service of others leaving our comfort zones.
A SPLASH OF HEALING: The disciples are pleased to have Jesus the teacher per excellence. He soothes their frail bodies and agitated nerves. He also lets them unwind as he grants them full attention and compassion. He wades off aloofness, and being snobbish; this is not the Christian approach. Jesus is the very opposite of what we become when in power. Do we not do our best to suffocate those under our might? Do we remember to communicate with warmth and exhibit simplicity? Do we go out of our ways to do spend time and do good to the less fortunate? Jesus is reminding us of our Christian calling. As Christians we are invited to be committed to the downtrodden and to the needy. Christ’s Church must be rooted in the care of the low class in society.
SENSITIVE JESUS: When Jesus saw the crowd, he was moved with pity. These words of Mark depict the sensitivity of Jesus as he encountered misery of the people. In the context of the hungry crowd, Jesus was genuinely concerned about their wellbeing (Mk 8:1-3). According to Jesus, the reward of eternal life is for those who are compassionate and share their belongings with the needy (Mt 25:35 – 40). For a believer every event is an invitation of God to respond. A sensible person returns home very much affected by human sufferings. He does not see the sufferings of others; on the contrary, he sees God suffering in them and so he suffers with them. That is why he wants to love others as God loves him and he wants to love others as he loves himself (Jn 13:34; Mk 12:31). Are you sensitive to the call of God within your context?