Pastor's Desk

ST. MARY THE MOTHER OF GOD CATHOLIC CHURCH

370 East Main Street
PO Box 7
Wytheville, VA 24382
Phone: (276) 228-3104
Fax: (276) 228-3322
officemanager@stmaryswytheville.com

Welcome to the Pastor's Desk

16th Sun B(Jer. 23:1-6; Eph 2:13-18; Mk 6:30-34)

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, are 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 takes 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. We know,God is love and to deny our love ones of our valuable time is in a way denying our Creator. So my dear friends, when we feel tired and exhausted, we need to take a rest. We must accept our human limitations. We are not gods. Human as we are, we need to withdraw from our worldly concerns once in a while, to recharge. As christians, 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. In the gospel, Jesus recognized the need to slow down, to back off for a while, to get away. He thus invited His disciples to “a lonely place by themselves, and rest awhile” (Mk 6:30).

In Rome, Italy, 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. And today’s readings explain how God, like a good shepherd, redeems His people and provides for them. They challenge us to use our God-given authority in the family, in the church, and in the society with fidelity and responsibility. In the gospel, we see Jesus attending to his weary apostles. Knowing that the Twelve are physically exhausted and in need of refreshment, He shows compassion by offering them rest. The rest He offers is above all, a time during which the apostles could recharge their spirits in prayer and recollection. Just like batteries, if 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 confusing sound of the crowd. And also in order that we will not become impatient 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 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 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. We must guard ourselves of being overactive, of constant activity and of overwork. There must be time with God, a time to listen to God’s word, with family and friends. Prayer is essentially listening to God and talking to Him. We should allow God the opportunity to speak to us and recharge us with spiritual energy and strength by setting aside enough time for Him to speak to us and for us to speak to Him. As St. 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.” 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/but 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, for family and even for Church. A sign that we are too busy with 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 meet 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/with us? How do we spend Sunday in our life? Let’s slow down, we might be moving too fast. Slow down, we might be too far. The Lord reminds us again today that life is not so much about going fast or far, but going to the heart. Don’t we all need to “rest a while”?