Mk 6:30-34 Get Out of Here!
(Click here for readings)
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.”
“So, what did you do today?” That’s a simple and very common question spouses, friends and neighbors ask one another. But what you don’t very often hear is: “So, how did you rest today?”
Come away by yourselves. Americans are known for their worth ethic. We work harder than most others in the western world. We don’t have 30 hour weeks; we have 40 hour weeks that are more like 50 hour weeks! We don’t stop until we drop; we stop until we drop dead. Most Americans tend to fear retirement because they don’t know what they will do.
But it seems we are not as productive as we once were. Even with all the technology in the world, we don’t seem to get much done. Why? Because our body, mind and soul are craving for rest, real rest. Most of us have reached the breaking or turning point; that is, the more time we spend working, the less (or worse) the results are. I really think that if we want to produce more (or get better) results, then we need more rest. It may seem funny and bizarre to you, but isn’t funny and bizarre a reaction to something unknown or not understood, like rest?
Looking back at my meditations, I realize how often I challenge people to get involved in this or start doing that. We, Christians, are known throughout the world for starting up schools, churches, missions, orphanages, etc… We have a long standing tradition for being sacrificial with our time, energy, money and lives. We have a reputation to “kill ourselves” for others. Pope Benedict sacrificed his retirement for the Church. John Paul II offered up his life to Mary. Mother Teresa sacrificed her body for the sick. There is nothing wrong with “killing ourselves” for others. But if we don’t rest, we will end up killing others for ourselves!
Come away by yourselves. The Apostles had just finished their first real mission trip. They were back: excited and exhausted. The Lord knew when he looked into their eyes that they needed a break. He sent them away. What happened next is often misunderstood. What happened next is a great lesson for all of us.
When the Apostles could do no more, the Lord took over.
Christ sent His Apostles to a deserted place to rest. When He saw the crowd following them, he did not send them away, nor did He ask His disciples to get back to work. Instead, the Lord himself dealt with them directly. He taught them: “He began to teach them many things.”
It’s wrong to think we need to save the world. It is terribly wrong to think we are the Savior of the world. What we need to do is what the Lord instructed His followers: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me.” BINGO! Rest is a “Come to Jesus moment.”
We can’t do it all nor can we do it all the time. We work for the Lord. We don’t move hearts to conversion. We direct hearts to Christ. We propose; we invite. The Lord converts.
“Come to me all you who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”
Moms and dads: Spend some time alone and in prayer so that you can rest and enjoy your time together. You will be a better spouse and a better parent if you do. The same goes for priests and religious: Spend some time alone and with the Lord so that you can give yourself wholeheartedly and joyfully.
Sometimes our mission is to rest.
Get out of here! If the Lord’s Apostles needed time to rest, who do you think you are?