We are entering the 16th ordinary Sunday. To better live this week, the Church proposes a week of observation to be with Him, a week of meditation to contemplate his presence and a deep prayer, a personal relationship with the Lord. God cares for his faithful and the faithful are invited to listen to him, like sheep listening to their shepherd. For that, He takes us from the crowd, and allwos us to enter into him, through a passage of desert to the Pentecost. Its a painful process, but very beautiful, when taken volontarily. As I told you last Sunday, we are here to pray and worship the Lord together, as one people of God.
We are one people, because we follow the same Lord, we listen to the same teaching and we profess the same faith. It is Christ who brings us together and by our presence here we respond to his call to be his disciples, faithful to his teaching. Saint Paul tells us the finality of our presence here, "For through him we have access in one Spirit to the Father.
I invite you once again to read this gospel in history, recognising the events before and after. We find ourselves between two meals, one in the palace that ends badly with the murder of John the Baptist, and the multiplication of the bread where the people wanted Jesus as the Messiah and the King. I also invite you to recognise two groups in this gospel, the Lord with his disciples who invites them away, "So they set out in a boat for a deserted place, away from the rest of the world", to be with Him, and to be nourished by his Word and his presence.
He invited them because it was crowded, very crowded. It is not good to lose oneself in the world, without any concrete activity or personal commitment. Living among this crowd totally disoriented and disconnected from the Lord, going back and forth, will also disorient us. That is why the Lord invites us to live with Him in the desert. In a desert place, not in a vacuum. There we will be accompanied by the Lord, not by mediators, but by the Lord Himself. We heard it well in the first reading, "I myself will gather the rest of my sheep from all countries....... I will bring them back to their fold, and they will be fruitful and multiply.
If he invited his disciples away, not to be locked up in themselves, rather to be sent out later, to the same crowd that is disoriented and disconnected. We see this in the second group of today's gospel. Jesus with the people. The gospel tells us, 'Jesus had compassion, towards this people, his sheep totally lost, yet remain faithful to the Lord, and continue to seek the truth. Every Christian act, every baptismal commitment, every word spoken, be filled with this divine compassion.
We are sent to this world, not to judge it, but through us may this disoriented world discover the divine compassion. We are aware of our weaknesses, our limitations, and the mission entrusted to us is beyond our human possibilities. Let us use this holiday time and transform it into a journey into the desert, to be nourished by his Word and his presence. May we all be nourished by the divine tenderness, so that we can announce the Good News with divine tenderness and compassion. Amen.