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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 Jesus 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.

REFLECTION: “They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.”

Since I have always lived on flat topography, the only time I experienced mountains or hills is when I travel. I came to learn a little more about them a few years ago while hiking at a state park on a well-marked trail. All afternoon, we made our way around the unlevel terrain. We came upon a trail that would take some time to complete, but decided we could easily finish the hike before sunset. Little did we realize how a setting sun could cast a shadow on the east side of the hill. As we traveled eastward, our trail turned pretty dark and it was a bit unnerving to think we could get lost. So, we moved with as much speed as possible. As we rounded the hill moving westward, the light increased enough for us to find the end of the trail. What a relief to feel safe in the light of day!

In the Gospel, the people moved with great haste in order to find the light that only Jesus can give. The extent of their efforts to see more of Jesus was extraordinary. I can imagine the teachings of Jesus lit up their souls and gave them a sense of security found in a shepherd’s care. They felt God’s love in the compassionate teachings that embraced them, filling them with God’s presence.

Are we like the crowds who seek Jesus, going out of our way to learn more or spend more time with Jesus? We can be like them, seeking to hear His voice, by taking time for reading the Gospel. We can spend time being in his presence by visiting an adoration chapel. We can participate even more than the crowd by attending church and participating in the sacrifice of the mass, becoming one with Jesus. God has made himself available to us, but we have to step forward to learn from Him in order to become one with Him.

My hiking experience in the hills followed an unfamiliar trail that momentarily led toward a fearful darkness. And now, despite being on flat land, I know I would be lost without the light of Jesus. His Word, his presence, and his body and blood offered in the mass will always give my soul light. May we hasten to place ourselves in the Good Shepherd’s care.

Let us pray for priests to be the light of Christ to all they meet and to work tirelessly teaching others about God.


PAPA Foundation
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