Jer 23:1-6; Eph 2:13-18; Mk 6:30-34
We see in sacred scripture that Jesus often went off to deserted places to pray to hear his father speaking to him. He listens within. When he returns from those places, he is ready to begin a new phase of his public life, with an expanded sense of his mission. Today he invites his disciples to do the same. He is including us, too.
“Come away and rest awhile.” Sounds inviting, no? What can we learn from this? We learn that seeing God, hearing God’s voice, and listening to it requires some time away-especially after intense activity such as the disciples had been doing. That is, it requires some moments to reflect, to see, to recognize his presence, active in our everyday lives. It requires time apart because we live in a busy, feverish world. God can be speaking or appearing, and we might not be hearing or noticing. We can have an experience and “miss the meaning,” the poet T.S. Eliot says.
What about you? Do you take time away? Again, it takes some time to rest with God “a while” before we return to intense activity as Jesus does later in this passage. Summer is a time to listen and to notice. There is beauty all around us in these long, light days. It is a spiritual exercise. Are you taking time to apart this summer? Make the most of summer before Labor Day.
Jesus is a model. His daily life was rigorous, walking from town to town, healing people, and continually responding to the demands of the needy masses, the “sheep without a shepherd.” He must have felt drained. His companions, those he was forming to share his ministry, weren’t the easiest to teach, and often they didn’t get the message or get who he was. Sometimes he was frustrated with them. He needed rest and patience.
So, from the example of Jesus we learn to go away with him for a while. In doing so, we open ourselves to receive what God wants to give us, part of our daily bread that also includes Himself in the Eucharist. Hopefully we will feel and sense God’s presence in our lives as caring, filling our need. That’s bread. His very body. That’s the point. We will be filled, restored, renewed and then be bread for others as Jesus was! As the disciples were, so shall we be!
This passage is also appropriate as I begin sabbatical. To “come away” with Jesus for a time. To rest and then return. Pray for me as I will be praying for you. I’ll be home for Christmas! Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!