Last weekend’s gospel demonstrated the compassion of Jesus as he sent the apostles out in pairs to nurture the souls of those whom He wished to share His life. By their preaching, witness and miraculous works, the apostles are able to return to the Master and report ‘good news’ about all they had done. Jesus’ compassion was fruitful!
This weekend, we find another demonstration of Jesus’ compassion when, even in the midst of so many coming to receive the graceful ministry of the apostles, Jesus directs them to come away with Him to a deserted place for rest. Even when they could continue to minister in His name, it is important for His followers to enjoy a sacred rest with Him. Yes, the need to nurture others and to care for their needs will always be with us and surround us, still the Lord asks us to retreat with Him in our holy labors.
And in case we tend to think that everything depends on us, look at what the Good Shepherd does as the apostles rest: He nurtures; He consoles; He teaches from His own compassion. Yes, we quickly realize that when we minister in the name of Jesus Christ, then He is the source and foundation of all the good that flows through us. Thus we gather each Sunday, to rest from the labors we have accomplished and to thank God for His mighty arm that has guided our efforts; and then, to seek the Lord’s continuing and generous compassion that can lead us in the week ahead…a week filled with others’ needs and our hoped-for response of kindness and compassion.
Jesus—the compassion of God—console us!