Come Away for a While
I know that we don’t often think of it this way for we are so accustomed to seeking meaning in the world around us that we fail to recognize that God has made a great investment in each one of us. He has poured into each of us an entire lifetime. Some longer than others, but for each an entire lifetime.
And, He has given each of us much to do during our lifetime. Whether it’s bringing new life into the world and then nurturing them to maturity; whether it’s teaching; or medical care; or providing goods and services people need in their lives. All of these have at their roots a divine purpose – providing for each other that we might all experience the fullness of God’s love. There’s where we find the meaning is in life.
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while”
So, this brings us to an important observation about the Gospel reading for this past Sunday [see Mark 6:30-34]. We need to notice that when the Apostles returned from their first missionary task, Jesus did not question them on how they did. He didn’t grade them; He didn’t instruct them further; He didn’t give them their next ministry assignment. Rather, He said: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” [Mk 6:31].
Yes, “come away for a while.” Jesus knew very well that doing the will of God in attending to others, as rewarding as it is, can be physically and emotionally draining. After all, we are fragile human beings. St Paul had a great expression for it, he said that we are “earthen vessels” [2 Cor 4:7b], Yes, in the grand scheme of things, we are just clay pots into which God has poured His treasure – too much stress and we will break, we will be useless.
And here’s the second important observation: Jesus did more than call His disciples to “take a break.” Rather, it was to come away to a quiet place with Him. You know that there is a regular God-given time for rest with Jesus. It’s called “Sunday.” Sunday is not the second half of a two-day weekend. It is a weekly gift from God to His people for their renewal, joy, and peace. It’s a day for freedom, not freedom from something but freedom for something: worship of God. “Keep holy the Sabbath Day” [Ex 20:8] is more than just a suggestion.
There’s also a wonderful way in which, each day, without traveling at all, you can get to a place far away, to a simpler time when people often experienced God in their lives and turned to Him to know Him better and understand the world around them. Their story is in what’s called “the Bible.” Put a copy on your side table or your desk and, each day, come away for a while and spend some quiet time reading the Word of God. You will not regret it.
“can you not keep watch with me for one hour?”
And, on those times when you just want more, visit the Adoration Chapel. It isn’t until we realize that we are in the presence of Jesus that we have truly “come away with Him.” Eucharistic Adoration is Jesus’ invitation for Him to physically be with you, yet in the vary simple appearance of bread. Just quietly sitting with Jesus, in what has come to be called a “holy hour,” has its origins in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus asked Peter, “can you not keep watch with me for one hour?” [Mt 26.40]. Pope Benedict put it this way. “In a world where there is so much noise … there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. … It is a great source of comfort and light” [Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Polish Clergy, May 25, 2006].
All of us need to regularly come away for a while and be with Jesus. As Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix recommended in his recent exhortation titled, Veneremur Cernui: strive to keep Sunday a day of rest, make Scripture reading a part of your daily life, and frequently visit with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration.
If we don’t often come away, we will soon come apart.
'Till next time,
Dcn Bob Evans
July 22, 2021
Mark 6:30-34; 2 Cor 4:7b; Exodus 20:8
NOTE: Our parish is doing a series of short videos that will correspond to the “Bread of Life” Gospel readings over the next few Sundays. I was asked to do the first video; the link is below. Enjoy.
Here’s the Link: https://vimeo.com/575132734