Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
The scene described in today’s readings has such a timeless element to it that causes one to stop and wonder as to the progress made by humanity over the past 2000 years. There is no doubt that our clothes are whiter, our sound reproduction is astounding and we are able to travel fast and far with little to no exertion. And yet, in spite of all the technological advances, we share a spot on the beach with the crowd before Jesus who are looking for direction and meaning. Although we have and know the Good Shepherd so often we look for other things in life that give us a sense of purpose. Here we may recall the great meditation offered by Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises, the meditation on the Two Standards. One standard represents the enemy of our human nature with all its glitz and glamor, the other, the standard of Christ which is shaped like a cross and made of wood. Today’s gospel reminds us that the values we should choose to push and pull us towards what God intends us to be may not come in a fancy package but instead are voiced by a simple man who spoke the truth.