A MUST DO JOB: REST
Sunday 16B (Mk 6:30-34)
It seems that as we grow older we get tired more easily, don’t we? Responsibilities and worries in life consume our energy and strength. The more work the more pressure. The more responsibility the more tension. The faster we run the faster we get tired. Particularly in the past few years with different crises in our world ecomonically, politically, culturally, religiously,… we have been even more vulnerable to fatigue. Many feel overwhelmed in work, exhausted in health, or paralized in spirit. The cause of all these symptoms lies in one word: overloaded. The cause of being overloaded is the lack of rest. The cause of the lack of rest derives from the lack of understanding that rest is one of the most important things in life.
In the Gospel today, while the disciples are excitedly reporting the achievements they have accomplished and it seems that they are wanting to continue to gain even more for the evangelization, Jesus, the Master, tells them: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” (Mk 6:31)
Usually people would take advantage of the spirit of victory to conquer more targets. But here, while the spirit of the disciples is high, ready for new achievement and glory, He tells them “Rest!” Do you find this interesting? There is a difference between the way people think and that of Jesus:
People often pay attention to the fruit of their work while Jesus focuses on the source of energy that enables them to carry out all things.
People usually like the glory from outside while Jesus prefers the joy from inside.
People often run after quantity while Jesus wants them to live their lives with quality.
People often feel satisfied by the glorious appearance while Jesus desires that they touch the depth of their being.
In order to be able to enjoy the good and noble things that Jesus wants us men and women to have in this life, we need to listen to his wise instruction: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest!” A deserted place is a private place for us to meet The Loving One and to meet ourselves. It is an important place for us to converse with and confide in the Father. It is the place for us to lean on the Father’s heart and have a peaceful sleep.
Jesus does not only see the enthusiasm of the disciples for the Gospel but also knows well the deep need of resting in them, a need that they themselves aren’t even aware of yet. There are many important tasks before them that they think need to be carried out. There are many opportunities to gain success that they think may come only once. But, the words of the Master still resound: “Rest!” Why? Because rest is one of the most important things in our human life. Resting is a humane duty to ourselves. Rest is food to both our body and mind.
“Go rest!” is an idea and command of Jesus, God-made-man, Who understands the profound needs of the human. In other words, rest is a will of God for our life.
Let us now take some examples about resting in practice:
In the midst of work, stopping to smile is resting.
After a day of labor, having some healthy entertainment to relax the mind is resting.
Resting is closing the eyes to calm down the mind, breathing regularly while going about doing different chores and routines.
In relationship to others, letting go the attitude of wanting to control their lives is resting artistically.
In the flow of life, freeing ourselves from the temptation to get everything we want is resting.
In our spiritual life, stopping the mentality of forcing God to meet our needs and putting ourselves completely under God’s will is resting.
In the midst of sadness, giving a friend a call to share our feelings is resting. This rest will become a greater opportunity for us if that friend is having even greater difficulty than us.
Resting is accepting in peace what is beyond our reach.
In the midst of busi-ness and burden, taking sometime to play with our children is knowing how to rest.
Resting is spending some moments each day on praying to God, confiding in Him, and getting relaxed in Him.
My dear friend, due to our noble dignity and well-being, let us wisely arrange our life so as to find some rest in the midst of duties, responsibilities, worries, and hardships. Let us go to our Master, Who is saying to each one of us: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mt 11:28-30)
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.