During the summer months, some look forward to taking vacations to our favorite destinations with family and friends. Others may prefer to stay home to rest and relax. In his Gospel, St. Mark shared the following story about the importance of taking time for ourselves. Maybe during Sunday Lunch, we could take time to read the following story and discuss its application for our lives…
The Apostles gathered around Jesus, and told Him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As [Jesus] went ashore, He saw a great crowd; and He had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:30-34)
Can you imagine what lessons Jesus taught the “many” that chose to seek out and find Him? In reflecting on St. Mark’s words, first, let us recognize that Jesus’ Apostles committed their time to be with Him. Second, Christ taught them and the crowds coming to see Him. As His sheep, the Good Shepherd assures us that He loves all of us. He offers us enough time to pray, enough time to work, enough time to play, enough time to reflect, and enough time to be with Him.
As we wind down our summer, perhaps we could take an opportunity to pause and reflect on the following initiatives. Their aim is to challenge us to “take time” to reap spiritual, physical, and emotional harvests for ourselves, and in turn, with others.
Take time to meditate about the presence of God around you;
He is the source and sustainer of your life.
Take time to read Holy Scripture and the lives of the saints;
it builds up the foundation of our spiritual wisdom.
Take time to let go of life’s demands and to be still;
it is the chance to seek out and encounter God, one-on-one.
Take time to be aware and interact with those in your midst;
it is the opportunity to share God’s Good News and serve Him.
Take time to be friendly and supportive of others;
it leads to joy and fellowship; it enables you to fulfil God’s potential for your life.
Take time to love and be loved;
it is one of God’s greatest gifts; the more you give, the more you receive.
Take time to pray to God and to seek His will in your life;
it is the ultimate source of strength that leads us to His eternal Kingdom.
When we withdraw from the demands of the world and claim the time God gives us, then we begin to understand what the crowds sought in Jesus. When we serve in our Lord’s Holy Church and when we witness God’s love and presence in our lives, then His blessings pour forth in miraculous ways. Life is too short to go around living it with anger or hatred. Let us learn to use the blessings that God has given us . . . in His time and not simply in hours, minutes, and seconds.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, may we remember that before we can act, we must open ourselves to be acted upon by God. The God of our salvation is the God of the Exodus, the God of the Cross, and the God of the Resurrection – acting in unimaginable ways in His creation for the benefit of all.
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in all ways.
The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thess. 3:16)
(Photos taken by Fr. George Tsahakis)