Kings and rulers in Israel were supposed to be shepherds of the nation, watching over and caring for the people. But this is not true of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee, who was living in lavish pomp and who persecuted John the Baptist.
In contrast, Jesus is presented here as a true shepherd in the mold of Moses and David. He teaches the people about God’s Kingdom and feeds them. Mark does not give us the contents of Jesus’ teaching here, but elsewhere in the Gospel, Jesus speaks about the effect of God’s reign in the hearts and lives of people. Like the Lord God, the Shepherd of his people Israel, who guides them along the right path and makes them lie down in green pastures (Ps 23), Jesus teaches the crowd the Word of God and attends to their hunger. The Church continues the works of Jesus and the Apostles by leading the faithful to the twofold table of the Word of God and the sacraments.
FIRST READING • Heb 13:15-17, 20-21
Brothers and sisters: Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind. Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you.
May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the Blood of the eternal covenant, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen
Gospel • Mark 6:30-34
The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.
When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
Source: “365 Days with the Lord 2023,” St. Paul’s, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.