Friends, today’s Gospel is a prelude to Jesus feeding the multitude in the desert. There is a darkness at the beginning of this famous account. We hear that John the Baptist has just been murdered; later, we hear that Jesus has withdrawn into a remote and deserted place, fearing probably that the same fate might be his.
His charisma and reputation are such that thousands come seeking him out, even in this out-of-the-way and dangerous locale. There are many overtones and undertones for the biblically minded reader. For example, there’s the prophet who is under threat—as were Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Jeremiah, and Elijah. This is the terrible fate of the one who speaks for God: hunted down, forced into exile, not at home in this world.