16th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): Everything They Need
(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
Last week, we listened as Jesus sends out his friends--his apostles--to do marvellous things, just like Jesus. In the Gospel for this Sunday, the apostles return to Jesus, telling him about their adventures.
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.
What stories they must have! We wonder what they have seen. We wonder what they have done. They have walked a long way--all the way to other towns! They must be very tired.
Jesus said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”
Jesus knows they are tired. He wants to take them to a deserted place--a quiet place where they will have time to rest.
For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
Jesus knows that the apostles have been so busy that they have not even had time to eat. We know that if we do not eat, we get very hungry. Sometimes we even get cranky. We wonder if the apostles are a little cranky because they are tired and hungry. Jesus knows they need rest and food. So Jesus takes them,
away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
When his friends are tired, Jesus gives them rest.
When his friends are hungry, Jesus gives them food.
They get into their boat and go out onto the lake. He takes them to a quiet place where they can be by themselves with Jesus.
Jesus gives them what they need.
Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them.
Who are these people? While Jesus and his friends are in the boat, people who live nearby see them. They know it is Jesus in the boat. They guess where he is going and they run around the lake to the quiet place. Why do they do that? They must really want to see Jesus. They have never heard anyone speak about the Kingdom of God the way he does.
As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd
When Jesus sees the great crowd of people waiting for him, he thinks they are like sheep that do not have a shepherd. We wonder what that might mean. We know that shepherds take care of sheep. That is what they do. But what do sheep need?
In the Bible there is a prayer about sheep and a shepherd. It is called a psalm. Often people sing this prayer. This psalm will be sung at Mass on Sunday, and if we listen carefully we will hear some of these words:
In this psalm, we hear who the shepherd is.
Who is the LORD?
WE know that the LORD is another name for God. God is the shepherd.
In the psalm, we hear that the sheep have everything they need. Everything! The LORD must take very good care of the sheep. Again, we wonder, what do sheep need?
The psalm continues:
Aha! When the sheep are tired, the shepherd gives the sheep rest.
When the sheep are hungry, the shepherd gives them green grass to eat. Food!
The shepherd takes them to a quiet place where they can be by themselves with the shepherd.
"The LORD is my shepherd" seems to be a lot like Jesus.
The apostles have Jesus. The sheep have the LORD. But the great crowd of people does not have anyone.
What does Jesus do?
Jesus began to teach them many things
When the great crowd of people does not have a shepherd, Jesus teaches them. He gives them himself. At the quiet place by themselves with him, Jesus gives them everything they need.