22nd July, 2012 Readings: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
I met Jesus that night, and I told him of all the things I had accomplished over my busy week. I was eagerly waiting for someone, to congratulate me on everything I had done, but all He said to me was, “Come away, and rest”. They were half the words I was expecting to hear. I really longed for someone to recognize all my efforts, time and energies spent fulfilling responsibilities and just focusing on “others”, and I wished He could have put in a quick word or two about that. But He knew what I really needed was rest. So He took me by the hand, and we got into a boat and went to find some solitude. If anything, I could look forward to just not doing anything and enjoy my state of “nua-ness”.
But who knew that Jesus was such a famous man? I had barely gotten two hours of sleep before witnessing a huge crowd gathering by the beach. And surely as the masses of people increased, my heart grew heavier and sank to my feet. I was just coming back on a tail end of a lot of work, but here they were. More work. “So much for rest, huh Jesus? You can’t even give me that.” He wasn’t listening which annoyed me a bit more.
He just kind of stared at the crowd, and gave a deep, compassionate sigh. Argh, irritating! Must he go and talk to them? I sincerely thought He wanted me to spend time with Him, to recharge my batteries. But I recognized that look that was transfixed on His people, all bunched up like sheep without a shepherd. I remembered when that gaze fell upon my face, all the times I turned to Him in fear, worry and longing. So I gave a not-so-deep, half-convinced sigh to let Him know that I would follow Him, albeit reluctantly. We stepped off the boat and approached the people. Secretly, I hoped to myself that they had brought some food. I hadn’t eaten my dinner yet.
Little did I know that there wasn’t going to be much food.
So, I inserted myself into the Gospel, and it really surprised me how much I had in common with the disciples. I’ve had a lot on my plate for the longest time, always having to meet other peoples’ needs and just hoping that at least this effort was recognized. Instead, yesterday, I got to spend an entire day just doing nothing. Jesus tells me the importance of balancing work with a quiet time of reflection, prayer and purifying my intentions, so I don’t burn out or I don’t get overcome by pride. And I think I’ve been driven by my pride to desire that recognition for everything I’ve been doing.
But yet, somehow Jesus knows when it is time, even when we haven’t fully rested. He knows because He has a heart of compassion, a heart of love for all His people. He recognized their need and was deeply moved by their desire to meet Him that He decided to make Himself available to them. It’s a bit like fans queuing up at the airport to meet a celebrity. Some of them choose to exit by a back door, or just sign one or two autographs. But Jesus would take the time to mingle and meet and greet with all these people.
So sometimes even when we’re so busy, and we want so badly to catch a break and more things come our way, ask to have the heart of Jesus, to view the people and work you do in His perspective. Be moved by their need and recognize that God is calling you. Trust that Jesus will take care of you, and give you rest when you need it, not when you want it. And broaden your mind to recognize that his rest comes in many forms. This passage ends off with the miracle of the loaves, which really seals the deal for me to trust in His providence.