Have you ever seen or done something that you couldn’t wait to tell a friend about? You may have wished that your friend was right beside you. Or you pulled out your cell phone and called or texted that person immediately.
We all have the natural desire to share our lives with another person. Before we can share our life with another, however, we need to first meet and get to know that person. Before we can share our life with Jesus, we need to be brought into contact with him. The priest is a person who brings us into contact with Jesus.
This Sunday’s Gospel opens with the disciples telling Jesus all that “they had done and taught,” referring to the Twelve’s proclamation of repentance, their casting out demons, and their curing the sick with oil. They did these things earlier in Mark, chapter 6.
The disciples probably couldn’t wait to tell Jesus the great things that they had done. I imagine them being filled with excitement. Casting out demons and curing the sick are quite amazing things. They did all of these things in the name of Jesus. There is no way on earth that the disciples could have accomplished these things all on their own. Jesus was the source of these signs and wonders among the people.
Word of the disciples’ ministry spread quickly. People from all around desired these great things to happen in their lives and in the lives of others. Through his disciples, Jesus draws the crowds to himself. He desires to nourish them. Our Lord can’t wait to tell them how much he loves them. When they are before him, Jesus shows his love by feeding the people through his teaching. This teaching is intended to draw them closer to him. It was through the Twelve that Jesus brought a multitude of people to himself.
Feeding the flock
Our Lord continues in our own day to draw massive amounts people to himself through his church. In a particular way, he does this through his priests. His priests are the shepherds whom God promised would shepherd his sheep (Jeremiah 23:4).
These spiritual shepherds are those who care for the spiritual needs of the flock and cultivate authentic unity among the flock. They feed the flock through their preaching of the word and through the celebration of the sacraments. They work wonders by bringing sinners back to the life of grace and fallen-away souls back into communion with the church.
I am very grateful for all the priests who have been in my life. I am thankful for their fidelity to the priesthood.
Without them I would not have experienced the Lord’s great mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation. Without them I would not have experienced the Lord’s loving embrace in the reception of holy Communion. Without them I would not have been open to the priesthood. It is through his priests that we move closer to Jesus Christ.
Deacon John Drees is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His home parish is St. Mary in Shakopee, and his teaching parish is St. Pius X in White Bear Lake.
Sunday, July 22,
16th Sunday in ordinary time
- Jeremiah 23:1-6
- Ephesians 2:13-18
- Mark 6:30-34
What priest in your life was instrumental in drawing you into a deeper relationship with Jesus and the church? Share your story with another person.