Jesus seeks rest but is followed by a desperate crowd. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Magnanimity so he can receive the Holy Spirit to perform many Works of Mercy and by growing in the Virtue of Diligence so he can practice prayer and draw ever closer to Jesus Christ.
4th Week in Ordinary Time – Saturday – Mk 6:30-34
After He sends out the Apostles on their trial mission preach repentance, to heal in the villages of Galilee and condemn those who reject Jesus, Jesus welcomes them back and they enthusiastically report to Him “all they have done and taught.” A testament to the Apostles’ fruitfulness, great multitudes have been drawn to Jesus, seeking to repent and be healed. The crowds are so intense that Jesus and the Apostles do not even have time to eat. Knowing the already-exhausted Apostles need to be refreshed by God, Jesus leads the Apostles away to a secluded place to draw close to Him for encouragement, teaching and rest.
Taking a boat across the Sea of Galilee, Jesus leads the Apostles to a secluded place along the shore. Perhaps due to a lack of steady wind that slowed the boat’s crossing, crowds, driven by the desire to be near Jesus, run along the shores and, by the time He and the Apostles land, a vast crowd (5000 men, not counting women and children) has gathered to meet them.
Though He desires to be with God the Father in solitude and to give the Apostles some much-needed rest, Jesus has a deep visceral reaction of compassion for the multitude of desperate people who seek Him. Drawing on the Scriptures that He Himself inspired (Ezek 34:11; Ps 23:1), Jesus teaches the Apostles about their duty to be faithful and courageous shepherds of His flock, revealing the multitude is like, “sheep without a shepherd.” The Good Shepherd, Jesus immediately leads His flock by teaching them.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be impressed by the physical Strength, Stamina and Perseverance (a part of Fortitude) of Jesus as He keeps a grueling schedule: though a Person of the Trinity, He has a flesh and blood Body which gets weary; He spends a number of hours in a small boat; when He lands ashore, He is swamped by thousands of desperate people; He has a powerful Voice which can be heard by thousands; in the following verses (v. 35-56), Jesus Feeds the 5000, is up all night praying, walks on water in the middle of the night, and then works the next full day healing the multitudes.
Receive the Spirit and seek greatness in Works of Mercy
Realize: Jesus, the Good Shepherd, perfectly demonstrates His greatness by His many astounding Works of Mercy (CCC 2447) for those in His flock and calls His men to imitate Him.
Believe: Reflect upon the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit (CCC 1830-1832).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Magnanimity (a part of Fortitude) so I aspire to become a great soul who imitates You, my Savior, and I diligently pursue and gratefully receive the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit, allowing me to perform many great Works of Mercy; Lord, make me a saint.
Be diligent in prayer to draw near Jesus
Realize: Like the Apostles who at times had difficulty spending prayerful time with Jesus (in this case due to crowds), men often find it a challenging battle to regularly draw near Jesus because they are distracted by obligations, work, temptations, and a myriad of other demands on their time and attention.
Believe: Reflect upon the Battle of Prayer (CCC 2725-2745).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Prayer, help me build the Virtue of Diligence (a part of Temperance) so I earnestly seek You and have the self-control to put forth the hard disciplined work of prayer, day in and day out, and be given the grace to draw closer to You in prayer each day.