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Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The reading is from Gospel of Mark 6:30-34.

The Return of the Twelve – Mark 6:30-34

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.

He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.

So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.

People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

When he 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 apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. (Mark 6:30)
  • He appointed twelve [whom he also named apostles] that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach (Mark 3:14)

here, and in some manuscripts at

  • When the apostles returned, they explained to him what they had done. He took them and withdrew in private to a town called Bethsaida. (Luke 9:10)

Mark calls the Twelve whom Jesus chose as apostles meaning “those sent forth.” Jesus sends them as his emissaries, empowering them to preach, to expel demons, and to cure the sick

  • They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sicke and cured them. (Mark 6:13).

Only after Pentecost is the title “Apostle” used in the technical sense.

The withdrawal of Jesus with his disciples to a desert place to rest attracts a great number of people to follow them. Toward this people of the new exodus
Jesus is moved with pity; he satisfies their spiritual hunger by teaching them many things, thus gradually showing himself the faithful shepherd of a new Israel.

  • “who will be their leader in battle and who will lead them out and bring them in, that the LORD’s community may not be like sheep without a shepherd.” (Numbers 27:17)
  • I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest—oracle of the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 34:15)

Mark says

  • He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. (Mark 6:31)
  • He came home. Again [the] crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. (Mark 3:20)

This is echoed by

  • When Jesus heard of it, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. (Matthew 14:13–14)
  • When the apostles returned, they explained to him what they had done. He took them and withdrew in private to a town called Bethsaida. The crowds, meanwhile, learned of this and followed him. He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. (Luke 9:10–11)
  • After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee [of Tiberias]. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. (John 6:1–3)

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