Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Jer. 23:1-6; Eph 2:13-18; Mk 6:30-34

Willi Hoffsuemmer tells a story about a child talking to her mother in this way: “Mommy, please play with me.” “I can’t,” said the mother.

“Why can’t you play with me?” “It is because I don’t have time.”

“Why don’t you have time?” “It is because I got to go to work.”

“Why do you have to go to work?” “So I can earn some money.”

“Why do you want to earn money?” “So I can give you something to eat.”

Here there was a short pause. Then the child said, “But mommy I am not hungry.”

The truth is, works, businesses and others, supposed to give us the living and the meaning of our life and self. But how many of our brothers and sisters become slaves to work and workaholic? Instead of, we as the masters of our work, we become now the slaves of it. Work becomes god if it steals the time for our family, friends, God and others. It is now our work that we worship instead of the true God. It is becoming difficult to rest on Sundays and find time to pray because we use it for our work. Such thing leaves us no time to seek God’s love. God is love and to deny our love ones of our valuable time is in a way denying our Creator.

So my dear friends, we need to rest. It is necessary that we have to have an R and R (Rest and Recreation or Retreat and Recollection) with our family, friends and others. Personally, I would rather not allow a father or a mother to go and work abroad. It is because their family is the one affected since the members of the family, especially the children, are robbed of the time that supposed to be is for them. Psychologically, a growing child is in need of a mother or a father figure.

Last July 16, 2009 at past six o’clock in the evening, there was an attempt to rob the convent of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Fatima, General Santos City by three young boys (ages 12-14 years old). They destroyed the jalousie window of Fr. Rene Dasilao’s room. And only one blade of the jalousie was destroyed but they were able to get the bender of Fr. Rene. They ran because somebody shouted at what they had done. The husband of the cook of the convent saw it too and he ran after the robbers and they left the bender.

You know what I was sad, not because the convent was robbed but because of the parents of these three young boys. I’m sure they don’t have time to teach them about what is good and what is bad. And I heard that there are parents who even ordered their children to steal.

Nowadays, I observe that many of our department stores, sari-sari stores, business establishments and offices are closed especially on Sundays. I really appreciate them. It is because by this gesture they can give more time to their family, oneself and above all, to God.

The rule of St. Benedict has advised society to live according to the threefold rhythm of prayer, work and recreation.

In Rome, Italy, the siesta time is religiously observed each day between 2PM and 4PM. Mondays are days of rest with more stores and shops closed. We might think these people as unbusiness-like or lazy but they replied: “We work to live and not to live to work.”

Last Sunday’s gospel is a story of challenge and hard work. Jesus sends the Twelve on their first missionary journey. He commissions them to preach, and do all the works He does. It is important to note that He sends them to do all these supported by other than their faith in God.

Today’s gospel carries the logical conclusion of the story of Jesus welcomes back His tired apostles (v. 30). Knowing that the Twelve are physically exhausted and in need of refreshment, he shows refreshment, He shows compassion by offering them rest. He is really a Good Shepherd. The rest He offers is above all, a time during which the apostles could recharge their spirits in prayer and recollection. Just like batteries, they are already weak and in need of recharging.

There are three reasons, according to Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD in his homily book, Inquirer Moments Cycle B, for Jesus’ call to rest for awhile. The first is practical. His disciples are tired so they need physical rest in order to have more energy. They need to slow down so that they will not be burned out and get sick and so we too. The second reason is psychological. We all need space and time to be by ourselves. We need a break from the maddening sound of the crowd. And also in order that we will not become grouchy and angry that drives people away from Jesus instead of bringing them in.

And the third reason is spiritual. In a quiet and prayerful atmosphere we gather our bearings and get inspired again. When we immerse ourselves in the presence of God, we are reminded that we are loved by God, embraced by Him tremendously and so we are important in His eyes in spite of our unworthiness.

Our Lord’s invitation to rest is not just a pious gesture given only to a chosen few but an indispensable call to all of us to find some much needed silence and solitude. In other words, “a desert place.” We need time to reflect and see our work as coming from, going to and centered in our relationship with God through Jesus. n our relationship with God through Jesus. we must guard ourselves of being overactive, of constant activity and of heresy of work. There must be time with God, a time to listen to God’s word, with family and friends. As Blaise Pascal said: “All the troubles of life come upon us because we refuse to sit quietly for a while each day in our rooms.” My professional in my theological studies said that if your work is your prayer, then don’t make yourself a priest, rather, be a social worker. If you pray only and you don’t work, then, act like a ghost.

I remember before, we only used mechanical instruments for our work like using paddle in washing our clothes, using bamboos in roasting pigs and chicken, looking for firewood in cooking our rice and many more and we have time for our families and for God. Now, we have these high-tech instruments like washing machine for our clothes, rice cooker and others. Yet today, we don’t have enough time for God, the family and the Church as compared before? A sign that we are slaves to our work.

That is why Jesus invites His disciples to a deserted place because they need rest. Jesus wants them to take care of their body and soul. They need to eat, drink and rest. More importantly, they need to me together as a community to share and reflect on their own ministry. They need to pray and enjoy solitude. Jesus does not want to destroy the balance between the active ministry and the contemplative aspect.

Let us reflect this: At the end Jesus gave rest to His disciples, how considerate are we toward people who work for us? What is your idea of ‘rest’? How do you spend it? Do you set aside some moments for God? How do you react when someone asks for your help when you are exhausted and in need of rest?

See Today’s Readings: Cycle B

OPTION  01,   02,   03,   04,

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