IV July 18 Sixteenth Sunday Ordinary Times Mk 6:30-34
30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 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. 32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. 34 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.
V Jesus wisely rests his disciples. Prior to this they had been given authority and power. By Jesus’ authority, the disciples cast out demons. By Jesus’ power, they anointed the sick and were healed. John the Baptist was beheaded at the command of a corrupt religious and political figure, King Herod the great architect of the Temple (third building following Solomon & Nehemiah). Do the apostles know of John the Baptist beheading? Probably, word of John’s death spread amongst the faithful. Jesus certainly knew of John’s death in His Divinity as He is God.
Disciples coming slowly to an awareness of who He is. Level of power suddenly given come with fear, concern. Simon Magus seeking power for power’s sake.
Disciples suddenly have this power, the work of Jesus, seems so easy, then the stress and tension from this level of authority for the human condition. Responsibility has a stress on human condition.
Something physically exacted of them. Jesus, let’s go away for awhile. Disciples the harvest so great, labors so few, not time for eat. Tremendous need from the people, waves of people desiring healing and liberation. Our Lord could have in moment could have instantaneously heal all, but rather invites man into this work of salvation. They are tired from ministry, Lord knows human condition is not without limits.
Our Lord’s humanity with the body, Divinity knows what is yet to come.
VI Leisure occurs before the great miracle for feeding the five thousand. One of the few events recorded in all four of the gospels.
When the Lord gives us moments of leisure, truly rest in it.
Work is always there. Machine keeps turn, robotized culture needs no food. Even robot needs maintenance. No perpetual machine. Must step away when given to us.
One spiritual, retreat immersed in the Lord, one on one with Lord.
Can’t neglect the body. Union of flesh and spirit. Body needs rest.
VII Bonus material: Mark, in my opinion written after Matthew, adds details such as grass for the people to sit on in the desert. I think the brevity of Mark speaks more of the fast approach of persecution for the followers of the Way than an argument for the earliest composition. YMMV