The Return of the Twelve
Bruno Hagspiel told this story that Saint John the Apostle liked to play with his pet sparrow from time to time. One day a hunter came to visit him and was surprised to see such a famous man playing. He surely could use that time doing something good and important. So he asked the saint, “Why do you waste your time playing? Why do you devote your time to such a useless sparrow?”
John looked at him in surprise. Why shouldn’t he play? Why did someone like a hunter not understand that? So he asked him, “Why is the string on your bow not tight?”
“It is not done; you cannot keep the bowstring tight all the time otherwise the bow would lose its tension and become useless for shooting arrows.”
John then told the young man, “My friend, just as you always release the tension on your bowstring, so you must release the tension inside of you and relax. If I don’t relax and just play, I would have no strength for any great undertaking. I would not even have the strength to do what I have to and what is necessary and demands my complete attention.”
In today’s gospel, it is known that people are coming and going, and keeping an eye on them, to the extent that Jesus and His disciples hardly have any time for themselves.
And so in order to have a good meal and renew the bonds among His disciples, Jesus invites them to go ‘to a deserted place’. This does not mean that Jesus and His disciples go to a desert place. It is because the places around Lake Galilee are not desert areas. What is described here is a place with a small population so that they can have more privacy among themselves which is far from people who come and go. And also, they need to make a report to Jesus of what they have done. They need to recover their physical and spiritual strengths so that they may be ready for future missions. And above all, there in the desert, there are no distractions. A person cannot be preoccupied by a hundred other things. There in the desert God can speak to the heart and mold it according to His way.
In relation to this, Dr. W. R. Luxton wrote: “I cannot overstate the importance of the habit of quiet meditation for health of mind and body, mind and spirit. Modern man’s life is grossly abnormal… We have neither time nor opportunity fir quiet… We need to explore our lives…. As we sit quietly and unhurried in his presence.”
And Jesus knows the need for quiet meditation. It is because He Himself practices it to go a deserted place to meditate quietly and to be in communion with God. That is why he teaches also His disciples, today’s gospel shows it, to do the same.
Jesus’ example of inviting His disciples to relax is also applied to us especially to those who are in-charge of taking care of others and administrative works. We might reflect how Jesus balances the work of His disciples with rest and relaxation. He encourages them to do their missionary works but also allows them to have chances to get away, to recuperate, to have time for themselves and to have a little quiet and peace.
And so, do we find time to be alone with the Lord and with our thoughts during the busy hours of the day?
OPTION 01, 02, 03,