The Church

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 107

Mk 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 he 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.

Jesus and his disciples , after a stint of teaching decided to go to a deserted place to rest. During their teachings they had not even time to feed. Crowds of people, when they found out where Jesus and his disciples went, followed them; to this deserted place.
Here is a story that has been played out many times throughout history. These people dissatisfied with their current situation, or even fearful of it decide to leave for a better place. These people are the emigrants,, the refugees,those seeking political asylum. They are the Jews , the puritans, Quakers and shakers fleeing religious persecution, those of the African continent fleeing famine, the Europeans coming in droves to America seeking a better opportunity. People left somewhere else to follow Christ as something in their lives was missing. They were not just people from his own background either: They were  first century Jews seeking understanding, Gentiles seeking a better solution, they were the outcast who saw a way back into the fold. If Jesus drew crowds, it was because he filled a need, his teachings resonated with these followers, and his solution made sense. If before in Jesus teaching he taught, it was through his effort. He went out to them. As he told his disciples to preach; if someone does not listen leave that town  as if shaking sand from your sandals. Was that option not also available to the recipients of that teaching?Did not they also have the choice to reject the message of Christ? They did not though. they listened and then followed. They came to him. They came to this deserted place to listen to this Jesus and his Gospel of Good News; It is the beginning assembly of Christ’s church;and the institution of the liturgy of the word ,the first part of the most holy Mass.These people were not simply those who happened to hear the word.They formed a congregation and assembled to specifically to hear it, the same as people do today. They are the Church.. .

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