The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The word “heart” occurs several times in today’s first reading from the Book of Kings. Just as Solomon asks the Lord for “an understanding heart” (which can also be translated as a “listening heart”), so the heart of Jesus is moved with pity for the vast crowd of people, who were like sheep without a shepherd. So “He began to teach them many things.” Then, in the passage which follows, he feeds them—all 5,000 of them.
We have been rejoicing in the fact that Pope Francis has an understanding and listening heart, and that he realizes that people need both to be taught and to be fed. You and I also need to have understanding and listening hearts, like Solomon, and hearts that can have pity and compassion for people’s spiritual and physical needs, just as Jesus has.
We can begin to grow such listening hearts if we accept Jesus’ invitation to “come away” and be alone with him. He will teach us—today!
—Fr. Bob Braunreuther, S.J., a New England Jesuit, assists in pastoral ministry at Loyola University Chicago, and is minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit Community.
Dear Lord, help us not to turn in on ourselves, burying our talent, our spiritual, intellectual, and material riches, everything that the Lord has given us. Rather may we open ourselves, to be supportive, to be attentive to others. Strengthen us to set our sights on great ideals, the ideals that enlarge the heart, the ideals of service that make our talents fruitful. Remind us that life is not given to us to be jealously guarded for ourselves, but is given to us so that we may give it in turn.
—Adapted from Pope Francis, Audience, April 24Please share the Good Word with your friends!