July 21, 2012

16th Sunday - B (July 22, 2012)

Mark 6: 30-34

A Heart that can be Moved with Pity for the People

Last week, we read of Jesus summoning the apostles, giving them authority, then sending them out.

Today, we hear that they return and "report" to Jesus what "they (emphasis is mine) had done and taught."  Apparently, they have quickly forgotten by whose authority they have done all that.  More interesting, the verb used here by Mark would probably be more accurately translated as "announce" [1].  Another possible translation, though not as strong, is "tell' [2] .

Imagine, those who received authority and sent now come back and "tell," or "announce" to Jesus what they had done and taught.  

They let what they wrongly perceive as their own success get into their heads.

Jesus, meanwhile, sees their needs for some rest and takes care of them.  

Next, he sees a vast crowd who are "like sheep without a shepherd," and "his heart was moved with pity for them."  

If we continue to read this Chapter 6 of Mark, we will see even more clearly the difference between Jesus and the disciples.
Soon, the disciples notice that it is getting late, and the people who have come to listen to Jesus have nothing to eat. So, what is their solution? They tell Jesus to send the people away, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

When Jesus tells them to “Give them some food yourselves,”  they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?” (6: 35-37)

What happens to "all they had done and taught"?

Haven't we all made that mistake when we allowed our successes, failures, self-interests, or worries blind us from the people around us and their needs?

[1]  Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002; p. 128.
[2] New Jerusalem Bible translation.

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