Homily for the sixteenth Sunday of the year - Year B - Mk. 6:30-34
Father Daniel Meynen
" The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.
" Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things."
" The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught."
Last Sunday, we heard the Lord send his disciples in mission. Today, we hear about the return of the missionaries and their meeting with Jesus. He had made arrangements to meet with his disciples, because he wanted to see them again and reunite them in order that, together, they might continue to receive the instruction that they needed.
Even though the disciples taught, healed the sick, and cast out demons, it was not in their own name that they did so, but rather in the name of the Lord Jesus: the disciples were intermediaries, they served as mediators between Christ and the men and women to whom they were sent. The grace that they received in order to perform their mission is not a grace that is properly personal: it is first, above all, a grace for others, a grace for those to whom they go, bringing them the good news of salvation.
So, as this grace is not their own, they came to give an account of it to the Lord Jesus, the author of all graces: they came to speak to him about all they had done and taught during their mission. The grace of God thus returns to its author: it is like a thanksgiving, a thanking of Christ for all the good that was accomplished through that same grace, which is all-powerful in Heaven and on earth! " The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught."
" And he said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.' "
The Lord watches over his disciples; he also watches over us. Jesus, who is God, knows what we need. And he provides us with these necessities at the opportune time. Jesus does not only watch over the needs of our soul: he is also attentive to the needs of our body. Jesus knows very well that his disciples have performed a laborious mission and that a little rest would be beneficial to them, especially since there is still much work left to be done, requiring a great deal more time and effort. Therefore, the Lord invites his disciples to take some rest.
Sometimes we work without limit and do more than we are able to do. Then some event, such as failing health, for example, reminds us that we must stop working, for what is important is to maintain moderation in all things, remaining in a happy medium between too much and not enough. It is useless to want to exceed our limits: we are inherently limited, since we are creatures.
God alone is without limit, and this is why he is always working (cf. John 5:17). So if we have to rest, it is not only to recover our strength, but also in order to remind us that God is always working, ceaselessly watching over us like a Father full of tenderness! So, when our body needs rest, it makes us think of the eternity of God, of the hereafter where there are no limits, of that endless rest in the eternal action of God!
" As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things."
Jesus watches over his disciples, he is attentive to everyone's needs: he is the good shepherd who gives his life for his sheep! What more beautiful testimony is there of his solicitude during our life on earth than the gift of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist? Jesus comes into us to give his grace, a powerful and benevolent grace, a grace that draws us to the eternity of Heaven, where God is ceaselessly working in order to obtain for us eternal rest in him! Let us ask Mary, our Mother, to ensure that we worthily receive the Eucharist on this day: let us pray to her and honor her with all our heart in order that the glory of God might spread throughout the world!