In the scriptures today, we hear from Jeremiah that the official leaders neglect their duties towards the people. But God does not neglect his people. He himself will send a leader or leaders who will be good and faithful shepherds. He will in fact, send Jesus, his Son to be our chief shepherd.
You will remember in last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus send out his disciples in pairs to proclaim the Good News. He called for repentance and healing among the people.
Today’s reading tells of their return. He listens to their reports. How sad it is that we don’t have any ‘minutes’ of what they said to Jesus. Immediately, Jesus suggests that they need a rest, a break and a holiday. Jesus, as ever mindful of the physical needs as well as the spiritual welfare. They ‘didn’t have time even to eat!’
“So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves … but even then the people followed them on foot. Jesus had made such an impression and now also the disciples, that people were flocking to hear them and be in their company.
When the people arrive uninvited, Jesus shows his compassion. He doesn’t tell them: “Go away. I’m busy having a rest’! No, ‘he set himself to teach them at some length’. He felt they were like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus proclaims his message of love, healing, forgiveness to the people. It’s been a long day for Jesus and his people. (A preview of next Sunday’s Gospel), so much so that he cannot send them off hungry – he feeds all 5,000 people. As ever, Jesus concerned about the spiritual and physical needs in equal measures.
While we are absorbed in this message, we need to care for ourselves and one another. This last 18 months battling with Covid-19 will have taken its toll on us. The new chapter and new phase after 19th July will bring new challenges. The question is, how do we move forward safely. And forward we have to move no doubt. The wearing of masks and sanitising etc., is left to our own discretion. This is not my understanding of leadership. We have been given directives for the Common Good over months, now directives are seen as an infringement on our freedom! It doesn’t make sense to me!
In our own Parish Community, we will stick to the policy and directive given by you, the parishioners and our Pastoral Council that we continue to wear masks and sanitise in our church as before. We will continue to do this until it is clear to do otherwise. Corona is still with us, we will have to live with that fact and move on accordingly. Your help and patience is much appreciated.
Have a pleasant and safe week. Fr Joe.