16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
As human beings we need rest and quiet every now and then to restore ourselves both physically and spiritually. Our Lord himself responded to these needs of his human nature and in the gospels we hear of him at times asleep or looking for a lonely place to pray. In the gospel today he calls his disciples to rest for a while.
But the Scripture too direct our minds to true rest, the rest which is heaven, eternal rest in a place of refreshment, peace and light after our work on earth is finished.
As always the Gospel. The Word of God, reflects and illumines our own experience – the apostles and Our Lord don’t get the chance to rest because of the hunger of the people for Our Lord. Parents I am sure will know what it is to be tired and yet faced with the loving demands of your children, husbands and wives will have the experience of coming home exhausted from work only to find that your spouse desperately needs your attention and company, priests too must be ready to respond to the needs and requests of their parishioners – parents, husbands and wives, priests, you can’t say ‘go away I’m too tired’. Even those who live alone will have the experience of being tired but realising that Our Lord is calling them to spend a few minutes with him in prayer.
In all this the compassionate Good Shepherd is our model. He gives himself without reserve, in the end he does it on the cross and makes that giving of himself permanent in the Blessed Sacrament. It is the giving of himself to us – that makes it possible for us to give to others – because what we give is what we have received. Indeed next Sunday our Lord will, with the feeding of the 5000 begin to teach the crowds about the Holy Eucharist.
And yet rest is vital, no matter how difficult, rest is vital for our physical and spiritual well being. This is why the Church has never ceased to call for Sunday to be a day of rest. Make sure that prudently and wisely you take time to rest, for recreation, to renew yourself physically and spiritually.