As a father of young children one of my greatest joys was coming home from work to the delightful squeals of my children, “Daddy!!!” Often this was followed by a big hug that let me know I was home and truly loved. As the years passed and the kids got older the squeals ended and the hugs dwindled. What became even more apparent to me was that Tanner, our furry dog, continued to greet me wholeheartedly. His bushy tail wagged excitedly as he pressed against my legs for a rub behind the ears.
Last week Maria was away for training and since she has worked from home the whole time Tanner has been a part of our family he was really missing her.
I don’t know exactly what was going through his head but there was no doubt that he at times went to those places where he typically found her. I have to believe that the emptiness Tanner was feeling would only be filled when his “Mom” got home. Here he is against Maria’s chair in the living room.
In this week’s Gospel we see a people seeking, waiting and anticipating as Tanner did.
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. Mark 6:30-34
The people sensed that there was something in Jesus that they needed. Reflect on this sentence. “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.” The people were seeking. They had waited for centuries for their Messiah. We know from scripture that the people of Israel had followed many false prophets and idols to fill the emptiness of their hearts. Now as they sensed that Jesus could fill that need they hurried to meet Him.
While Tanner at 14 doesn’t “hasten” to great me as quickly when I return home, our hearts are just as joyful at coming back together. Even though our children are moving away we all know that when we come together we are loved by Tanner, one another and most importantly our Good Shepherd, Jesus.
Oh that we would run to Jesus our shepherd! Invite Him into your heart right now and know a love that only comes from belonging to God's family.