The Gospel of Saint Mark is the shortest of all the canonical Gospel accounts. In 16 brief chapters the Evangelist invites the reader (us) into a journey of recognizing the true identity of Jesus; beginning on the day of his baptism by John in the Jordan River, it concludes at his Resurrection and Ascension. Since an entire Gospel is proclaimed during a Liturgical year, and because of Mark’s brevity, for five weeks (from the 17th through the 21st Sundays of Ordinary Time) we hear the entire sixth Chapter of the Gospel of Saint John reflecting upon the Lord Jesus, who is the Bread of Life. Jesus’ true identity is seen in Sacramental Signs.
Today, however, we complete the sixth Chapter of Saint Mark! Jesus leads his disciples, after having returned from missionary journey, to a deserted place. Seeing this, the crowds followed them. What might have been an intended time of rest and reflection now becomes an opportunity to join their hearts to the One who is the Christ, the Son of God.
The task of the baptized is to be missionaries by the quality of our life. While the vast majority of us may never travel to a distant land to “preach the Gospel,” we can accomplish this task by allowing others “to follow” us to a deserted place where all encounter the One, the Good Shepherd, who is the Word and the Bread of eternal life! By leading others to Him, may they come to believe:
Almighty ever-living God, who created all people to seek you always by desiring you and, by finding you, come to rest, grant we pray, that, despite every obstacle all may recognize the signs of your fatherly love and the witness of the good works done by those who believe in you, and so in gladness confess you, the one true God and Father of our human family.
May the week ahead be filled with countless graces and blessings!