After He sends out the Apostles on their trial mission preach repentance and to heal  in the villages of Galilee, Christ welcomes them back and they enthusiastically report to Christ “all they have done and taught.” A testament to the Apostles’ fruitfulness, great multitudes have been drawn to Christ, seeking to repent and be healed. The crowds are so intense that Christ and the Apostles do not even have time to eat. Knowing the already-exhausted Apostles need to be refreshed by God, Christ leads the Apostles away to a secluded place to draw close to Him for encouragement, teaching and rest.

Taking a boat across the Sea of Galilee, Christ leads the Apostles to a secluded place along the shore. Perhaps due to a lack of steady wind that slowed the boat crossing, crowds, driven by the desire to near Christ, run along the shores and, by the time Christ and the Apostles land, a vast crowd (5000 men not counting women and children) has gathered to meet them.

Though He desires to be with the Father in solitude and to give the Apostles some much-needed rest, Christ has a deep visceral reaction to the multitude of desperate people who seek Him. Drawing on the Scriptures that He Himself inspires (Ezek 34:11; Psalm 23:1), Christ teaches the Apostles about their duty to be shepherds of His flock, revealing that the multitude is like “sheep without a shepherd.” The Good Shepherd, Christ immediately leads His flock by teaching them.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Mercy, Christ heals the sick and relieves the hunger of the multitude. Divine King and the Greatest Leader, Christ cares deeply for the apostles and systematically forms them for their coming mission and martyrdom. Son of Man, Christ feels emotions deeply, particularly compassion for the suffering. The Good Shepherd, Christ cares for His flock by teaching and healing them.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Christ is a superbly powerful man. Reflect on Christ’s grueling schedule in this passage: He spends a number of hour in a small boat; is swamped by thousands of desperate people and heals them working late in the day; He has the power to command and be heard by thousands.

2) Christ perfectly demonstrates the Works of Mercy (CCC 2447). Reflect on the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit (CCC 1830-1832) which give men the grace to perform the Works of Mercy;  pray for Christ to send the Holy Spirit to you.

3) Like the Apostles had a difficulty at times to commune with Christ (in this case due to crowds), men find it a battle to regularly draw near Christ. Review how the Church explains the “Battle of Prayer” (CCC 2725-2745) and pray for Christ to help you draw closer to Him in prayer.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtue of the Day – Hope

Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead