July 19, 2015 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause
July 19th, 2015
Mark 6: 30-34
Fr. George Smiga
When the apostles return from their missionary journey in today’s gospel, Jesus asks them to pause from their work. He says to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place, and rest for a while.” Now Jesus clearly wants the apostles to work, to spread the gospel, to help those in need, but he also wants them to stop and rest. Why is it so important for Jesus that we as his disciples pause to rest? He knows that if we do so, we will become better servants and better people. When we stop and become still, we are able to do two things: we can give away and give thanks.
When we quiet ourselves in the Lord’s presence, we are able to give away to the Lord those things that trouble us and over which we have no control. It might be a worry that we have about a family member who is in trouble. It might be a hurt that we cannot heal or a fear that we cannot overcome. Whenever we realize that there is nothing more that we can do, it is time for us to give away our worry and fear to the Lord. It is by quieting ourselves that we are able to hand over these burdens to him.
When we quiet ourselves we are also able to give thanks. In the silence of our hearts we are able to thank God for the people in our lives who love us, support us, and give us joy. We are able to lift up in thankfulness the blessings of our health, our abilities, and our freedom. When we give thanks for the blessings of our lives, our lives deepen and we live more fully.
As followers of Jesus, then, it is important to carve out of our schedules a few moments of stillness and quiet, a few minutes in which we can give away and give thanks. You might choose to do this the first thing in the morning, when you wake up, or in the last few moments before you go to sleep. You could take ten minutes in the morning with your first cup of coffee or as you brush your teeth. Sometimes going to a specific place helps to quiet us: an extra room, the basement, the bathroom. Whatever it takes we should find a way to become still and say to the Lord: “Take this fear, this worry, this hurt. I no longer want to carry it. Lord, make me thankful for my wife, for my son, for my coworker. Let me give thanks for the opportunities I have today to work, to help, to love.”
It is important to find a few moments in our schedule to be still each day. Doing so, however, is no guarantee of success. In today’s gospel when Jesus and the disciples arrive at the deserted place where they hope to rest, there is a vast crowd. The needs of the crowd required them to begin working and preaching and healing again. The same is true for us. On any given day, our quiet time can be bumped by needs that arise. Last minute homework, an unexpected phone call, a broken hot water tank can shift us back into necessary activity. But the important thing is to try, the important thing is to set aside a few minutes in which we hope to be still to give away and give thanks. Because if we try, there will be some days on which we will succeed. And the days on which we do not will be the days when God will recognize our intention and find a way to bless us just the same.