It's one of those issues that we struggle with, that we're surprised by all of the crosses that we're asked to bear. We always seem to question our Lord in this regard. Why is this? Especially when we consider ourselves disciples of Christ. It is because we still do not know Him. Not fully. Not yet.
In our Gospel today, Jesus feeds His sheep because they're hungry. He feeds His sheep. He proves to us He is a good shepherd - that He takes care of us in our need. That is why they wanted to appoint Him king. ...
We have this temptation, this desire, to appoint leaders over us who are going to feed us, and take care of all things for us so that we don't have to do any work.
Now our Lord, knowing the Israelites intention, knowing their heart, at the end of the Gospel does something that for us should be very sad. "He withdrew again, alone." He could not remain with the people because their desires for Him were wrong. They wanted Him to follow them: "Come with us, we will make you King." And our Lord says: no that's not how this works. I'm the shepherd. I lead the sheep. You follow Me.
And they could have followed Him. But where is He going? He's going to the Cross. And that's the last place any of us would normally want to go.
But to be a member of His flock, to follow Him, is to follow Him to the cross. There is no other option for us.
If we attempt to avoid or circumvent the crosses that the Lord has called us to bear, we do not follow Him. It's as simple as that. ...