Two Sundays ago, we had the story of the disciples being sent out two-by-two and how they performed many miracles on their tour of the villages. Last Sunday’s Gospel told us that they were back from their mission and felt so exhausted. But, because they have been so successful, the people were pursuing them and gave them no time even to eat. So, Jesus invited them to come away to a lonely place so that they could be by themselves and get the rest they needed.
They went on vacation, except that the crowds of people quickly found out where the disciples have gone and followed them there. Jesus took pity on them and the holiday was abruptly cut short. In fact, all the rest and recreation that the disciples got was that short boat trip across the lake.
Yes, we do need rest; we do need time for refreshment and recuperation. It is dangerous for us to think that we are indispensable and that we are so much needed that we do not take a holiday. As they say, the cemeteries are full of indispensable people.
If we looked carefully at the Gospel text last Sunday, we would notice that it was not the exhausted disciples who attended to the people, rather, it was Jesus himself. He even had time to teach them at some length.
Perhaps, the lesson from the Gospel last Sunday was that, when worries and fears exhaust us, we should not be afraid to sit back a bit and leave things to God.
Sometimes it is the worry that gets to us. There has been a lot of illness, calamities and tragedy around lately. This Pandemic is pushing us to the limits of our tolerance and patience. We worry about our health, we worry about our work and finances, our families, increasing prices of almost every basic commodity. We are worried with so many things, including that present status of our land and all other negative issues in our government. There has been a tremendous amount of hard prayer offered up for certain individuals and causes.
We can get so exhausted both in all our worries and in our prayers. Sometimes have to simply place all our cares and concerns in the hands of Jesus, acknowledging that only He can sort things out, and that He will do so in His own mysterious way. I am not saying that we get to a point where we give up praying… far from it. But we do get to the point when we know that the worry and anxiety does not do us any good.
Jesus looked at the crowd and recognized that they were like sheep without a shepherd. He took pity on them and set Himself to teach them at length. He became a shepherd for them. He is our Good Shepherd. He cares for us His sheep, He protects us, He heals us, He teaches us, and He seeks us out when we are lost.
Most people take their responsibility as disciples of Christ seriously. We try hard to find ways to exercise this task, which are within our capabilities; but sometimes we are overwhelmed, sometimes we feel weighed down by the task. It is when we recognize that we can do no more, and that we have to place all our troubles in the hands of God. It is then that we hold up to Him the ones we care for and entrust them to His care.
This is a great act of faith and hope. We acknowledge our own limitations; we realize that we are not saviors, that we are only the agents of God. We are taking up Jesus’ offer, to travel with him across the waters, to a lonely place just to restore our spirits. We know that, in His presence, we can find rest for our souls, and that all our cares and concerns will be finished.