So first, in case a baby was shrieking in your ear or forcing you to take them potty for the zillionth time or you're not Catholic or _______________, here was the gospel reading:
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.
So basically the disciples were like "Jesus. Zomg, are you a sight for sore eyes. We're so tired! Ugh, I mean, a lot of good things happened today but man...we're just spent." And so Jesus is like "wow, yeah, you need a break. Go sneak off for a rest, okay?" Then the apostles were all "peace out, huge crowd of people. We are gonna get in this boat and literally go to a different place across the lake or whatever." And do you know what the crowd of people, the very people they needed a break from, did? They hiked around the dadgum lake on foot and were WAITING FOR THE APOSTLES ON THE OTHER SIDE.
Am I allowed to say that? Because really, you guys, you KNOW how they felt. I mean you know it was like "really? are you for serious right now? Jesus just said we could take a break and here are all the peeeeeeeeeeeeeople aaaaaaaaaaaanyway. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah." Okay, fine, I might be projecting a little here, but still.
But do you know how Jesus felt when he saw them? The people who scurried around in desperation because they couldn't bear to be apart from their new mentors, the lights they didn't know they had been looking for?
"When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd;"
I could just stop there, probably. I mean...you know what I mean.
1) To be good shepherds, we must expect to be, and accept being, uncomfortable.
Oof. Nuff said.
2) We must allow ourselves to be led in order to lead
Good shepherds know they are not ultimately in charge- if they are leading well, it is only with God's help. Even Jesus called out to His Father in times of distress, you know? So we've gotta be open to the idea that sometimes we'll be called on to change, to do things differently. That the way we thought would be best might not be after all. We allow Him to lead us and we will then be able to lead them.
And most importantly, most jarringly....
3) We cannot do it all alone.
Jesus didn't come and hang out with every single person on the entire planet. He got some disciples- some super sheep, if you will, and he taught them to be shepherds too. Then they go out and they teach more sheep to be shepherds. Not everyone can lead to the same degree, of course, but no one person can do it all him or herself.
Here's a scenario I imagined earlier this afternoon...
Jesus: Wow, we have so much to do. It's crazy. This world is crazy, you guys.
Apostles: Okay, we are ready to help. Just let us know and we will help you. Whatever it takes.
Jesus: Oh nonononono, you just relax. I wouldn't want to trouble you. It is my job, after all, to be the savior. Nope nope nope. I got this. You just go and do nothing, m'kay?
WUT. That would be weird, right?
So pastors seek out helpers who can use their gifts in supporting the community, managers seek out ways employees can their gifts in the workplace, and husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, need to seek out ways for their charges to use their gifts to contribute to the family. What I'm getting at is that apparently it is not wrong to accept and encourage help. In fact, it seems that asking for and accepting help is...deep breath...actually Christlike.
(excuse me while I sit down and breathe slowly for a moment)
I'm pretty convicted by this, you guys. This was a homily meant for my heart. Seeing the apostles as regular people (because duh, they were, but it's easy to forget) always helps me so much, but realizing that we need to strive to do the first (pity the
Happy Sunday, y'all. Secret handshake. Kidding.