Psalter: Week 4
Ps 23:1–3a, 3b–4, 5, 6
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
1st Reading: Heb 13:15–17, 20–21
Let us, then, continually offer through Jesus a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of lips celebrating his name. Do not neglect good works and common life, for these are sacrifices pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are concerned for your souls and are accountable for them. Let this be a joy for them rather than a burden, which would be of no advantage for you.
May God give you peace, he who brought back from among the dead Jesus our Lord, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, whose blood seals the eternal covenant.
He will train you in every good work, that you may do his will, for it is he who works in us what pleases him, through Jesus Christ, to whom all glory be for ever and ever. Amen!
Gospel: Mk 6:30–34
The apostles returned and reported to Jesus all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, “Go off by yourselves to a remote place and have some rest.” For there were so many people coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a secluded area by themselves.
But people saw them leaving and many could guess where they were going. So, from all the towns they hurried there on foot, arriving ahead of them.
As Jesus went ashore he saw a large crowd, and he had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began a long teaching session with them.
The first reading of the day specifies three sacrifices pleasing to God: sacrifice of praise, sacrifice of good works, and sacrifice of common life. None of these is easy, hence they are sacrifices. Christian life begins and ends with praise and thanksgiving, for God is the beginning and the destiny of our lives. But praise and thanksgiving are not easy, especially when we are beset with life’s struggles and wounds. Doing good works is an expression of our love for God and neighbor, but they can be very challenging when our own needs demand attention. Life in community is integral to Christian life, but leading a common life with people of different backgrounds and personality traits can be frustrating, to say the least.
Today’s gospel shows how Jesus lived these sacrifices, especially those of common life and good works. His life was a continual praise and thanksgiving; he cares for the needs of his community of disciples, sets aside his own need for rest, and responds to people’s needs with compassion and understanding.
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