Tuesday, 17 July 2018



 Today’s is Gospel especially appropriate for the holiday season.   As Jesus urges His disciples to come to a lonely place and relax when they returned from a preaching mission,   This incident reminds us that rest is a part of the rhythm of life.   We can’t be working all the time.   We need to recharge our batteries so that we have the mental and physical energy for our more serious activities. Recreation should be re-creation, which renews us.   So, taking a break is not a waste time.    We’re frequently told of Jesus seeking the peace, quiet and solitude of night to pray.  He, too, needed to recharge His batteries.
And there’s another side to our need to relax.   We need the opportunity to be with our loved ones, to listen and talk and simply to enjoy each other’s company.   What we call making ‘quality time’ for each other.   If we’re so busy doing things for each other that we have no time to be with each other there’s the danger love will grow cold and we will drift apart.  The same is true for our love for God.  We need to strike the balance between doing His work and relaxing in His company.  
Here’s a challenge for you -can you, as a family, relax or have a meal together without one of you having an unnecessary chat on your mobile with someone outside the room, or your simply idly surfing your mobile?  How about a prize for anyone who succeeds, a forfeit for failure?   I’m shocked by the appalling bad manners of those who show no interest in the people with whom they were physically present, but give their undivided attention to their mobiles.  Obviously, sometimes that is necessary; intrusions into the peace we would seek can’t always be avoided.
Like Jesus in today’s Gospel, we find that life doesn’t always work as we’d planned.  When He sought the restful solitude His disciples required the crowd tracked Him down and demanded His attention.   The same kind of thing happened when my brother, Dave, came to watch a cricket match with Pete and me.   Being a doctor, Dave had to leave the cricket and respond to a medical emergency.
The crowd recognised its need for Jesus, and so did He.  He realised they were like sheep without a shepherd.  They were vulnerable to attack and didn’t know where to find the nourishment of green pastures.  They needed the guidance and protection of the Good Shepherd.
And so do we.  Without Jesus we are lost, our lives lack direction and purpose.  We need His protection as we face the onslaught of temptation. We need Him to nourish us with His own Body and Blood and with His teaching.  The greatest mistake any of us can make is to think we can cope with life without Jesus.  In John’s Gospel we are told that the crowd deserted Jesus when they found His teaching too hard to take.  When Jesus asked Peter whether he, too, would go, he replied,  ‘To whom shall we go. You, Lord, have the word of eternal life.’   Peter realised he would be lost without Jesus.  And so would we. 
That includes both the times of work and of rest.  Never are we without the need of His  love and protection.  May the season of relaxation renew us in body mind and soul.  That includes strengthening our love for our family and friends, and for God.  Have a good holiday! 

Isidore O.P.