Jeremiah tells of God's indignation at the "shepherds who scatter and let the sheep of my flock stray".. To these shepherds, who are kings, he promises punishment:"You scattered my sheep and let them go without caring for them. So I am going to call you to account for the wickedness of your deeds.". In the face of the iniquity of those who were supposed to shepherd his people according to God's design, he promises to intervene to gather his sheep directly and give them suitable shepherds. The prophecy of Jeremiah (Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "when I will give to David a legitimate offspring; he shall reign as a wise monarch, with justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in safety. And they shall call him by this name: The-Lord-our-righteousness.") is fulfilled with the Incarnation and serves today to introduce the reading of the passage from Mark that recounts the return of the disciples, sent two by two to evangelize.
The simplicity of the Gospel breathes the freshness of those moments in which the disciples feel the need to tell Jesus "everything they had done and taught.". Jesus understands this better than they, who have accumulated physical and emotional fatigue, and invites them to withdraw with him to a secluded place to rest. He teaches them and us the value of rest, the value of relativizing works, even that of evangelization, which should not be an absolute and take the place of God. "Because there were so many coming and going, and they didn't even have time to eat.". He teaches them the ability to detach themselves from pastoral care, to regenerate themselves in dialogue with him and in fraternal communication, the goodness of seeking times and places of rest. To stay, at times, ".themselves alone.".
Jesus teaches as much with gestures and decisions as with words. His apostles learn and remember. Then, throughout the history of the Church, they meditate on those small and significant details of the events lived and told by the Gospel, which are a place of revelation. Even the fact that this attempt at rest is not carried out, will have made generations of faithful and pastors of the Church smile for two millennia. That crowd seeking the Master, so incredibly quick and perceptive, arrives even before the boat to the place where they dreamed of a "desert" to rest. It is that compassion of Jesus, which always moves us, for those "sheep that have no shepherd". Mark says only of Jesus, in the singular, that "began to teach them many things". In this way, he lets his apostles rest for a while, not as they had planned, being alone with him, but listening to him fascinated, mixed with the crowd.
The homily on the readings of Sunday XVI
The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaa small one-minute reflection for these readings.