By Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg
The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
Today’s Gospel reading always makes me smile. The Apostles are excited to tell Jesus all that they have done, and Jesus listens patiently. He then tells them to step away from their work and rest awhile. Ah, rest – yes! They need and deserve rest after doing God’s work, but the people find out where they are going and beat them there. Imagine going on retreat, and you’re met by crowds of the people you serve!
Once you get past the chuckle, focus on the request to come away and rest. Jesus rested, He called the Apostles to rest, and He calls us to rest. Yet how often do we ignore that call? Jesus interrupted His rest to shepherd the people who needed him, so we should do that too, right? The answer is a solid no.
The Bible is full of verses where Jesus rests, and it stands to reason that if our Lord, who was True God and True Man, needed to rest, that might also be true for us as well. We need the time to refill that reservoir of faith and be ready to give it to others. Fortunately, Jesus gives us everything we need to recharge and get back to working for His Kingdom wherever we are planted.
Intentional Time with Jesus
Take a good look at how you spend your time. What can be simplified, pared-down, or eliminated? A priest friend once told me that his priesthood didn’t really begin until ten years after he was ordained. He typically reserved a few hours at the end of the day for himself, watching TV, reading novels, etc. but he never felt filled up at the start of the next day. He finally realized that he was filling himself with junk food instead of what would really renew his love for Christ and ministry.
Spend intentional time with the Lord. Every time I go on retreat, I make leaps and bounds in my spiritual life and fall in love with Jesus all over again. If you can’t make a retreat, how about a holy hour once a week? Or make time to occasionally stop by to pray with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? Make a date with Jesus – any intentional time you spend with Him in person, through Scripture or holy reading will give you a refresh.
Take time away by connecting with others. We live in a world addicted to busyness, but the recent pandemic has shown many of us how wonderful spending quality idle time with our loved ones can be. Jesus spent idle time with his beloved Apostles, he had a friend named Lazarus, and he even attended weddings.
There is that occasional time when we need to put ourselves aside and minister to someone, just as Jesus did in this Gospel passage from Mark, and Jesus will give us the Graces we need to do so. In the meantime, give yourself permission to answer Jesus’ call to come away and rest.
Jesus, let me hear the call from You to come away and rest so that I may renew my love for You.
Call to Action
Think of where you can apply these suggestions for resting—pare down, spend intentional time with Jesus and connect with others—to your own life.
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