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1 JOHN 4:7-10

PSALM 72:1-4.7-8

MARK 6:34-44

Today's Gospel passage is preceded by the one in which Jesus tells his disciples, "Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest for a while. " Jesus told them these words after he had sent them out two by two and gave them authority over the evil spirits.

If Jesus is telling them to rest then he is telling them to rest from one of the most important aspect of their call. But did they rest? No, they didn't because they did not get that opportunity, instead, Jesus and his disciples respond to the needs of the people coming to them seeing the crowds and their manifold unmet needs,

Jesus has compassion on them. He puts his plans for rest temporarily on hold and goes out to them, healing, curing, feeding and then teaching all who are in need. This is very interesting because Jesus agrees to be interrupted from a well deserved and significant need to rest to teach us that interruptions can be moments of service, of showing compassion and of putting love into action bearing in mind that the First Reading tells us to love one another.

But how many of us like being interrupted in the midst of our resting time? Very few of us would like to be interrupted. Resting offers us an opportunity to feel whole, to be happy, to lead fulfilling lives, to make a difference in the world, to feel like we belong and have a place to call our

own but this resting should not be in isolation from using the opportunities that come our way to provide for the needs of others.

When we rest after fulfilling what is required of us then we can rest with the assurance that we have brought a positive change in our society. Jesus could not imagine resting when at that time there is was a crowd of people who looked like sheep without a shepherd, who needed to be taught and guided. He could not imagine resting when the crowd was hungry

and needed some food to eat.

What is it on your part that will make you not rest until it is done, until it is fulfilled?

And when we decide not to relax so that a need can be met, we should not do so as a sense of duty but out of a sense of delight, desire, anticipation and love.

In this Gospel passage and others like it in Mark, the needs of the people seem clear: that the sick want to be healed, and the hungry want to be fed. Sometimes such needs are right there in our congregation and sometimes they are spread throughout our communities. And in these needs, our faith communities can play an active role in meeting them. These needs are not just

material but can also be less tangible and that is why first of all even before feeding the crowd, Jesus notices their need to be guided and that is why he takes the role of a shepherd by teaching them many things.

Do we know the needs of our faith community that will make it flourish once they are met? If we know, then we should not rest until they are met and fulfilled. After that

we can rest.


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