July 19, 2009
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, I believe in you. I trust in you because as a man you experienced everything I experience except sin. You have pity on me in my weakness because you became weak for love of me. I believe in you. I trust you. I thank you for your everlasting love and benevolence.
Petition: Lord, help me to know you more intimately.
1. Father, Brother, Mentor
The apostles joyfully reported to Jesus all they had done and taught. They are like children, and he is a true father and a brother toward them. He is their mentor par excellence. He listens, responds, encourages and instructs them. They feel privileged to belong to him. Because of their love for Christ they continually renew their commitment to his cause. There is no doubt that he deserves this and much more. That is why they stick with him even when doing so means serving the large crowds amidst their own hunger and exhaustion. They wouldn’t leave him for the world.
2. Empowering the Apostles
Christ is a true leader for his apostles. He attracts them and guides them. His leadership is highly positive. He conquers their hearts because he is a man possessed by a transcendent and eternal ideal, which radiates from him with extraordinary vigor. With his deep knowledge of the human person (John 15:13), he is able to draw from each apostle’s qualities the maximum benefit for what is true and good. He doesn’t use them as lifeless instruments or tools. He begins by promoting each one’s temporal and eternal good and then directs them towards fulfilling the ideal that unites them. He creates a healthy mystique of belonging to the circle of his disciples.
3. Fellowship with Him
The crowds find out where Jesus and his apostles are going. From all the towns they hasten there on foot and arrive at that place before them. Imagine their excitement, their drive to seek out Jesus, and their rush to be with him. It is true that they are a fickle crowd. They have yet to know the Lord in all the breadth of his virtue and goodness. Nevertheless, the little they know of him resounds in the depths of their hearts. They sense in the Lord and within the community of his followers bonds of loyalty and fellowship and a spirit of authentic love. This is what their human hearts long for. Those who seek out Christ are never disappointed.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you were a father, a brother and a guide for the apostles. You were a master sculptor, molding them into your image of goodness, humility and generosity. Do the same for me, Lord. Mold me. Sculpt me into your image. Make me one of yours.
Resolution: I will see myself as your apprentice today, Lord. I will try to listen to your voice in every thought and action. I will do this for love of you.
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