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To build a dynamic Roman Catholic family of faith that seeks to encounter Jesus through the spiritual, Sacramental, catechetical, and social life of the Church. We strive to be the beacon of the light of Christ to all through joyful service and mission


July 21, 202416th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Zeal and Determination


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. Mark 6:34

Both Jesus and the Twelve Apostles had been working very hard. The Twelve had been out on mission to many of the neighboring towns preaching, healing the sick and casting out demons. Upon the completion of their mission, they returned to Jesus and reported all that they had done. Jesus, in turn, invited them to “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” But the crowds heard about their departure by boat and quickly went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee so that they would arrive before Jesus and the Twelve.

The passage quoted above reveals the internal reaction that Jesus had toward the crowds as He and the Twelve disembarked from the boat. Though they had attempted to go away together to a quiet place for rest, the crowds were intent on being with them. Jesus, of course, was not upset that the crowds had spoiled His attempt to find some quiet time with the Twelve. Instead, His heart was moved with compassion. He could see that the people were hungry for more and were “like sheep without a shepherd.” For that reason, Jesus immediately began to feed them with His teachings.

A helpful point to ponder in this passage is that the people who gathered were described as a “vast crowd.” From the subsequent passage in Mark’s Gospel, we learn that when Jesus finished teaching them many things, He performed the miracle of the multiplication of fish and bread and fed 5,000 men, not counting the women and children. Given the fact that the estimated ratio at that time of adult men to women and children was at least 5:1, the crowd could have been as large as 25,000 people. For a spontaneous gathering of people in a remote area by the Sea of Galilee, that is a huge number. This is especially the case, since it is estimated that there were only about 1,500 people living in Capernaum at that time. People had flocked to our Lord from very far away.

This vast and spontaneous gathering reveals to us the hunger that Jesus instilled in the hearts of very many people. Some of these people had already heard Jesus speak and had witnessed His miracles. Others were those to whom the Twelve had just preached in the surrounding villages. The Twelve had spoken clearly and convincingly by the power of the Holy Spirit about Jesus, and many people responded, wanting to know more about our Lord.

As you ponder the enthusiasm of so many people, try to compare that with your own enthusiasm for Jesus. Are you driven to seek Him out with the same passion and zeal that consumed these first followers? Or do you find that your zeal and enthusiasm are lacking at times? This vast crowd, with their zeal and determination to seek out our Lord, should be a source of inspiration and self-examination for us all.

Reflect, today, upon this vast crowd. Try to see yourself joining them. Ponder yourself being so moved by the preaching of the Apostles that you become single-focused in your determination to be fed by Jesus’ holy teaching. If it is hard to imagine yourself acting this way, then humbly acknowledge that you may need more zeal for Jesus in your life. Pray that these holy desires become stirred up within you, and do all that you can to foster such zeal.

My compassionate Lord, the vast crowds sought You out to listen to You and to be fed by Your holy Word. They burned with a desire to be with You, and You responded to them with great mercy. Please fill my heart with the same zeal and desire for You. Teach me, Lord, feed me and draw me close to You. Jesus, I trust in You.



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