Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark’s gospel is full of paradox and full of many kinds of miracles. Our short reading today invites us to meditate on the introduction to one of them (the feeding of five thousand). Jesus had invited his disciples, whom he had sent out two by two, to come apart with him by boat to a remote place so that they could rest awhile. But it was not to be! The crowds heard what was happening and going to the place on foot got there first. Seeing them Jesus felt compassion for the crowd and began to share spiritually with them. Notice how Jesus puts other people’s needs first. Notice how the links he creates between prayerfulness and loving-kindness. Notice how he links compassion and deep spiritual sharing. Notice the link to the prophesied Good Shepherd who would ensure that the people would no longer be victims of famine… or bear the scorn of the nations (read Ezekiel 34). Are we open to learning these lessons? Are we ready to put other people first or are rooted in selfish ways?