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Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Mk. 6: 30-34

Jesus planned a short break for Himself and His Apostles. They needed it. As Saint Mark says, “There were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat.” The details are not given but doubtless there was some planning and eager anticipation. But then they were confronted with a crowd of needy people reaching out for help.

The same kind of thing has happened to all of us. Life seems to take delight in disrupting our plans. We might have made provision for a secure future but then we lost our job. Or our hopes to have a happy marriage were destroyed by a faithless spouse. There is no escaping the realities of life in some form or another. The critical question is how do we react when our plans do not work out?

In today’s Gospel Jesus helps us to answer that question. Not even Jesus was allowed to live His life as He wanted. He met with obstacles and frustrations through His ministry but He was never resentful. On the occasion of the wedding feast at Cana it was not His intention to work any miracles. But at His mother’s request He changed water into wine to save the embarrassment of the host. So things did not always happen as He wished or intended. Is it, therefore, reasonable for us to expect that our plans must always work out as we want? And when they do not must we always resign ourselves passively to the inevitable, gritting our teeth and determined not to show resentment.

In today’s Gospel Jesus shows us the positive way to act when our plans do not work out. We can turn adversity to our advantage. Mark tells us that He pitied the people and “began to teach them at length.” Under His influence that sea shore became a class room, and people left Him that day with a few seeds of eternal truth in their minds. And you can trace that same spirit throughout His ministry.

What about us? The important question is, how do we respond when our plans do not work out? We all have the same three options. We can be resentful, stoically accept and endure, or we can do something positive. We have all had the experience of someone in need making demands on our time. We can resent the intrusion, give our time reluctantly or use this interruption as an opportunity of showing our love and concern.

Lord Jesus, we know we cannot always decide what life does to us - but with Your help we can decide how best to respond to life's challenges. May You always give us the courage to make the right choice when it matters.

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