Two questions for us. Do we take time out to be alone and rest? Do we listen closely to Jesus and allow him to teach us what is really important in life?


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In today’s Gospel we read that Jesus has sent His disciples out to preach and to work as He Himself has been doing, and now that they have returned He wants to spend some resting time with them, certainly to debrief them and to see what they have learned, to answer their questions, and maybe to consider just what form His ministry will take from this point on.  But if the disciples need a rest, so might Jesus.

Sometimes in life busyness never ceases. The disciples had a new-found place in the community and were in demand. People were constantly coming and going, leaving no time to even eat. This sounds like the life many people lead today—going at a great pace and under pressure all the time.

Even disciples need to retreat sometimes. They had just returned from their mission and Jesus saw their need to draw apart for quiet. When the people followed, Jesus stepped in and offered them what they sought—a shepherd to guide and teach them.

Two questions for us. Do we take time out to be alone and rest? Do we listen closely to Jesus and allow him to teach us what is really important in life?

 

And yet, in spite of this very special moment that He seeks with his specially chosen ones He turns towards the questing crowds…

I see the hunger and yearning these crowds manifest in how the people come and go in great numbers but also in how they quickly follow Him to the deserted spot.  And Jesus matches their hunger by turning aside from what He Himself wants in order to serve and to give Himself to them.  This is admirable, and we wish that we could have the same selfless zeal for the good of others, but…

Once people truly experience Christ, they can’t get enough. They want more. They “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” They literally run to be near Him, as did the vast crowd that rushed from the nearby villages to be with the Lord, the Holy One who loved them and taught them “many things.”

Where is that zeal, that enthusiasm today? Where it is seen, is it for Jesus, or are people zealous for something else, something “new” that promises ultimate fulfillment and heaven on earth?

“The great happiness of those days can be seen from the hard work of those who taught and the enthusiasm of those who learned. If only in our time such a concourse of faithful hearers would again press round the ministers of the Word.” This was written by Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church, some 1300 years ago.

May we, the followers of the Lamb, be zealous in sanctifying our world, our communities, our families through Christian love, hard apostolic work, truly living the Gospel, and being ready for persecution in whatever form it takes.

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