The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves.
But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.
Gospel for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Over the next few weeks the readings take on a particular Eucharistic theme – we segue from Mark’s narrative to that of John in chapter 6 of his Gospel, beginning with the feeding of the 5000 and then continuing over the following four weeks, readings from the Bread of Life discourse.
These readings will have a particular resonance in parishes in England and Wales as we continue to prepare for Adoremus, the Eucharistic Congress being held in Liverpool in early September.
Before we move to reflections on how Jesus feeds us with Bread and with his Body, we note how Jesus feeds us with his word. It is the word that gathers the people to him, and holds them through the long day.
And for us too, the word brings us to the Lord. In the Liturgy we are shaped and focused by the word, indeed it is only after the word has been ministered to us that we dare to approach the Sacraments. The living word is the gateway to the Sacraments, and the food that allows us better to receive the Lord there and more fruitfully respond to him in our lives.
Lectern and lectionary. Sayers Common. © 2005, Allen Morris