XVI of ordinary time
M Mons. Vincenzo Paglia

Gospel (Mk 6,30-34) - At that time, the apostles gathered around Jesus and told him everything they had done and what they had taught. And he said to them, "Come apart, you alone, to a deserted place, and rest a little." In fact, there were many who came and went and didn't even have time to eat. Then they went in the boat to a deserted place, apart. But many saw them leaving and understood, and from all the cities they ran there on foot and preceded them. When he got out of the boat, he saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep that have no shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.

The commentary on the Gospel by Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia

«Come aside, to a solitary place, and rest a little!». It is an exhortation that sounds close to this time in which many are preparing for rest or, perhaps even more, for the need for silence for a serious return to interior life. In the Sunday liturgy we are taken "apart", that is, to a place different from our ordinary occupations, even those of holidays, in order to be able to dialogue with the Lord, listen to a true word about our lives, nourish ourselves with a friendship that nevertheless remains firm, to receive a strength capable of supporting us. This is what happens in the Gospel story, when Jesus and the disciples get on the boat to cross to the other shore. The moment of the crossing on the boat, between one shore and the other, can be compared to Sunday mass, which binds us to the two shores of the sea, always crowded with people in need. In fact, once they reach the other side of the sea, the crowd is once again waiting for them. Perhaps they saw the path of the boat and guessed the landing place. They ran forward and got there first. As soon as Jesus gets off the boat he finds himself surrounded by a large crowd again. John the Baptist had been killed not long ago, and there was no longer any prophet. The Word of God was rare. It is true, the temple was full of people and the synagogues crowded; so much so that many said that religion had won. Yet, the people, the poor and the weak above all, did not know who to trust, on whom to place their hope, on which door to knock. In the last evangelical words the entire Old Testament tradition on the abandonment of people by those responsible echoes. The prophet Jeremiah shouts it out clearly: "Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the flock of my people." The Lord himself will take care of his people: "I myself will gather the rest of my sheep from all the regions where I have driven them away and will make them return to their pastures." The secret of all this is hidden in the Lord's compassion for his people. This compassion that led Jesus to send the Twelve to announce the Gospel and serve the poor continues to push him, as soon as he got off the boat, to immediately resume his "work". This is what he continues to ask of his disciples of all time.