February 5, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:34
The Twelve apostles had just returned from going about the countryside advocating the Gospel. They were tired. Jesus, in His kindness, invites them to come away with Him to rest for a while. So, they get in a boat to cross over to an abandoned place. But when the people learned about this, they ran on foot to the place that their boat was heading. So, when the boat arrives, there is a crowd awaiting them.
Of course, Jesus does not get upset. He does not get discouraged by the burning desire of the people to be with Him and the Twelve. Instead, the Gospel relates that when Jesus saw them, “his heart was moved with pity,” and He began to instruct them on many things.
In our own lives, after serving others well, it is understandable to desire rest. Even Jesus desired this for Himself and His Apostles. But the one thing that Jesus permitted to “interrupt” His rest was the clear desire of the people to be with Him and to be fed by His preaching. There is much to learn from this example of our Lord. How many times are we interrupted in our daily lives, do we stop and listen to someone in need?
For example, there are many times when a parent may only want to be alone for a while, and yet family concerns arise that need their attention. Priests and religious may also have unexpected duties that arise from their ministry that can, at first, appear to interrupt their plans. The same can be said for any vocation or situation in life. We may think we need one thing, but then duty calls and we find we are needed in a different way. How often can we relate to this in our own lives?
One key to sharing in the apostolic task of Christ, be it to our families, Church, communities, or friends, is to be ready and willing to be generous with our time and energy. It is true that prudence will influence the need for rest at times, but at other times the call to compassion will replace what we feel like a genuine need for our own rest and relaxation. And when true charity is demanded of us, we will always find that our Lord gives us the needed grace to be generous with our time. It is often in those moments when our Lord chooses to use us in ways that are truly transforming for others. How many of us have to experience such events in our own lives?
Reflections for this weekend:
Reflect, upon the true needs of those around you. Who do you minister to?
Are there people who would greatly benefit from your time and attention today?
Are there needs that others have that will require you to change your plans and to give of yourself in a way that is difficult?
Do not hesitate to give generously of yourself to others?
In fact, this form of charity is not only transforming for those whom we serve, it is often one of the most restful and rejuvenating activities we can also do for ourselves.
Lord, You gave of Yourself without reserve. People came to You in their need and You did not hesitate to serve them out of love. Give each of us a heart that imitates Your generosity and help us to always say “Yes” to the charitable work to which we are called. May we learn to find great joy in serving others, especially in those unplanned and unexpected circumstances of life. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.
St. Francis and St. Clare, pray for us!
Peace and all good,
Brother Ed Arambasich, OFM