1. The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things(Mk6:30-34). Taken from today’s Sunday gospel.
2. The apostles returning from apostolic work were eager to report their successful missions: what they taught and the miracles they accomplished. The caring Jesus saw how the mission has exhausted them and immediately suggested a little vacation: “come to a lonely place and rest awhile.” Yes, Jesus is interested in the work of spreading the gospel but he is still even more interested in making sure that the missionary does not forget to take care of his bodily needs.
3. So many people were seeking to be nourished spiritually so much so that the apostles had no time even to eat. Jesus knew that they can break down if they continue in that manner. The caring Jesus had to mobilize the apostles into a boat, leaving the people to go and get refreshed before coming back to continue attending to them. He who cares for others should also care for himself so as to be able to continue caring for others. He should learn to withdraw even when the needy are crowding around him.
4. Strange enough, the people knew where Jesus intended to go and rest. They rushed and arrived there before him. On arrival Jesus saw them. He was moved with compassion and had to cancel his vacation. This Jesus who abandoned the crowd to go and rest had to cancel the rest because he cares. He was moved with compassion for the people who sincerely sought to know more about God. Here lies the paradox. Paradox of compassion and the right to merited rest. Jesus’ compassion overwhelmed his fatigue and he set out to teach people instead of taking his holiday.
5. In life there arrive times where polarities must be managed: instead of ‘either or’ we must accept to move ‘a little to left and a little to the right.’ We must learn to balance our rights with our compassionate heart in the face of human suffering. We must learn to be strict and to be soft at the same time. The key attitude is ‘striking a balance’ in all that we do such that no aspect of our life is sacrificed at the expense of the other.
6. The caring Jesus wants you to rest when you are tired. He wants you to care when the suffering of others stares you in the face. So, when was the last time you cared for yourself by going to a lonely place to rest awhile with your beloved ones? When was the last time that you allowed those working with you to go to a lonely place and have some rest? Like Jesus, from time to time allow your compassion to overwhelm your reason in the face of human suffering. Set aside your right to render a gratuitous service to those who truly need it around you. @Vita, 18/07/21.
Peace and security upon you.