In the face of this understanding of time and its purposes, we are presented in the Gospel reading with Jesus, who in a manner very similar to the creation story in which God rested after his work of creation, encourages his disciples to “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” It seems to suggest that we should take time to rest.
In the face of the amount of people who wanted help of some sort, Jesus and his disciples go off to a lonely place by themselves. It appears also from the Gospel reading that they took their time about their journey because when they reached this lonely place, people on foot had already arrived at the place to which they the disciples were heading. The Gospel reading seems to be saying to us that Jesus encouraged his disciples to look after themselves and not let the volume of work so overwhelm them that they would have no time for themselves, for reflection, for restorative rest.
The Gospel reading seems to be telling us then that time has other purposes and that we should take time to get away - to relax. It is not simply about production. It is about taking time for reflection, about taking time for restorative rest and last but not least it is about taking time for relationships. It is about relationships with God. We are told in the Gospel reading “The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.” It is about relationship with oneself. In the deserted place they would have time for self-evaluation and for renewed commitment. It is also about taking time for building and restoring relationship with others.
The Gospel encourages us then to reflect on the way in which we use time for ourselves and for others. While it is necessary to produce, have we made production the be all and end all of our lives and the lives of those who work for us. Do we set goals for ourselves which effectively limit our ability to develop the important relationships in our lives, the relationship with God, with ourselves and with those who are dearest and closest to us? Do our children complain that they do not know us; do our spouses complain that we have no quality time for them; do our friends complain that they never see us?
These days we have the example of Pope Benedict who has gone off “to Castel Gondolfo to rest a while.” From what we know of him we know that he will spend time enjoying his favourite pastime. As we reflect on this gospel reading may God’s wisdom be ours so that we use time in ways which will help us to become more caring people, and the world a better place.
All powerful and ever-loving God, we thank you for showing us that time has a spiritual purpose, that it is not simply about producing but that it is also about building our relationships in a manner that is worthy of people of the Kingdom. Give us the grace to take time to know you. Give us your Spirit, fill us with your wisdom so that our notion of time will help us to relate to You, our Father as true sons and daughters, caring for each other and this beautiful and bounteous world that you have given to us. Help us Oh Loving Father, to take time to doscover your love and your mercy for us. We ask this through the intercession of Mary our Mother and your Son Jesus. Amen
Gospel Mk 6:30-34
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.
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