Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rest a While

July 19, 2009

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S.J.

I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply. I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD. Jeremiah 23:3-4

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh. Ephesians 2:13-14

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. Mark 6:31-32


“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

How hard it is to imagine Jesus inviting us to rest a while? Wasting time with friends is a gift we give them. It says they are more important than the work that brings us together. We are more important to Jesus than the work that we do for him. Our world looks at work as the definition of life’s meaning. We are so much more than our work in the eyes of Jesus. We were loved even before we were born in our mothers’ wombs. It is by the blood of Christ that our piety takes on its meaning. Love is the gift of oneself for others. The time and the energy that we put out for Christ in our lives give us our Christ connection. Christ lives in us by our love. He goes on establishing peace in us by his love which permeates our lives. It is through Christ that we have access in one Spirit to the Father. It is in Christ that we become one by his blood, shed out of love for us on the Cross. This is the source of the Sacramental life of the Church and gives us the promise of eternal life. The only limit on God’s love in our lives is what we are willing to accept. God, in giving us life, is forever holding us in his love by each living breath. Jesus is the reason for God’s love for us by his life offered for us on the Cross.


Study is how we stay close to Christ. The more time we give to him by our study, the closer we come to him. There is no substitute for a steady diet of Christ. The Scriptures of the daily Eucharist give us a one liner we can hold unto during the day. Thinking about the one liner gives us direction as the words from our Gospel of the day come alive in the experiences of the day. Light is shone on our path by closeness to Christ. Looking at how he grew up gives us awareness of how our lives are close to Christ. He gathers us from all the distractions of our day into the closeness that brings us to the restful waters he leads us to. Study reveals the right paths and even when the valley is dark his words bring light and place him at our side. The strength of Christ becomes ours and the goodness and the kindness of Christ keep us close to his people and his presence in our lives. We study the goodness of each other and the very search for his presence opens our eyes to the wonder of his creation. There should be no limit on how far we would go to be close to Christ.


There is a vast crowd of un-churched people in our world and it behooves us to share Christ with one another if we truly want to hold unto him. We can have as much Christ in our lives as we share him by our words and by the sermon in the goodness of our lives. He is always providing for his faithful. He keeps in our minds the wonderful things he has done for us in his compassion and his love. People are crying out for what we have. There is no genuine rest for us until we are willing to let our lives be a constant teaching of how Christ lives in us. We are his hands and his feet in the extra steps we are willing to take in his name. We need to be like the two disciples of Emmaus who by asking Christ to break bread were able to recognize him in the breaking of the bread. Discovering Christ sends us back to our communities to share the good news with those we belong to. And it is in this sharing that our action takes form and is its presence of the goodness of the Lord to us. Christ always provides for his faithful.