The WORD in Other Words by Sister Angelita Roferos SSpS (Philippines) for Saturday Week 4 in Ordinary Time
In this short Gospel episode Jesus demonstrates some enviable leadership qualities.
He listens with interest and delight at the reports/sharing of the apostles about their successful mission.
He gives his apostles a “break.” Jesus sees to it that after their hectic mission work the apostles have to be alone in quiet not only to rest but to be alone with God for spiritual recharging and re-energizing.
No sooner, Jesus sees a throng of people running after the apostles. Instead of letting the apostles miss their rest and spiritual recharging, Jesus Himself goes to the people, to have a long teaching session with them. He sacrifices His own rest and comfort for the sake of the apostles‘ much needed rest and spiritual refueling.
He goes to the people whom He compares to a flock of “sheep without a shepherd.” Penetrating everyone‘s conscience with a prophetic gaze, Jesus sees each one burdened with life‘s problems, weariness and miseries.
He lifts them up and gives them hope.
Today we have a multitude of people who have not yet heard the Good News of salvation. These people do not necessarily come from remote places. Many are just at arms’ length — those on the roadside, the homeless beggars, those who are drifting aimlessly in life, the wounded and the trampled upon.
For many years already the Church has proclaimed her “preferential option for the poor.” What tangible implementations has she done?
One commentator has put it very clearly: “Christian commitment to the poor is not complete as long as the Church is not deeply rooted in the lower stratum of society.”