Gospel Reflection for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
As we know from the gospels, there were always demands being made on Jesus and on his time. Many who were sick waited and queued so that he could lay his hands on them. He spoke to the crowds whenever and wherever he could; he spoke and taught in the synagogue and the Great Temple, he spoke to the people by the seas shore and from the hills. He made to seek out the poor and the sick so that he could be with them and to eat with. This, as we can imagine was not easy for Jesus. On one occasion when the poor sick woman touched just the hem of his clothes, he was immediately aware that power had gone out from him. There were many other times when the crowds dismissed, rejected and ignored him. This too must have affected Jesus; these experience as well took away his energy and drained him.
There were times in his daily life and ministry that Jesus simple needed to get away from the crowds and all their demands. These were the times when he went off himself so that he be silent, rest and pray. In the Gospel of Mark we are told that early in the morning, long before dawn, Jesus got up, went to a quiet place where he prayed. Jesus loved being with people, especially those who were in need. This is why he was sent by God. In the Gospel of Luke he said to the people, ‘I have been sent to bring the Good News to the poor.’ However, he could only share w with people what had within himself. When he took time by himself he rested and prayed to God for strength to continue his mission and ministry. This is what he shared with those he met, especially the poor, the sick and those everyone else despised and rejected.
Jesus called and sent his follower out to continue and carry on his work of proclaiming the Kingdom of God. This was challenging and demanding work. They couldn’t just rely on their own strength and resources and they couldn’t do it by themselves. And so in our gospel this Sunday, Jesus says to his disciples; ‘You must come away to some lonely place and rest for a while.’ Even they needed to learnt to stop working, to be silent, to rest and to pray.
We are no different today. We can’t be working and busy all the time; it’s not good for us. There are times when need to stop what we are doing, we need to be silent and we need to pray. Difficult as this may be for us, we do need to turn off our mobiles every so often. When we can rest with and in the Lord, we are restored and refreshed; we are nourished and nurtured by Jesus the Good shepherd who cares for us and protects us. We draw our life and our energy from Jesus the Shepherd who provide for us and feeds us.
Celebrating the Eucharist and receiving Holy Communion is an experience of taking time to rest, to be silent and to pray as Jesus did.
May we never be so busy that we cannot find some time each day to be silent, to rest and to pray. Jesus did, so why can’t we?
Michael Moore OMI