The Scripture readings for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 19th, paint an image that reveal God’s desire for humanity and all of creation: Peace, rest, refreshment. Picture yourself lying on your back in an early summer green meadow gazing up at sky, no worries, no schedule; feeling safe and at peace. Sounds wonderful!
The Gospel reading from Mark (6:30 -34) portrays Jesus’ care and compassion for the apostles after their travels and teaching “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
However, in their attempts to find a quiet place the crowds seeking healing and hope pursued them. Jesus had compassion on them and reached out. We may have a tendency to put ourselves in Jesus’ shoes and feel called to set aside our need for rest to reach out to the needs around us. In reflecting on this passage, could it be possible that Jesus still sent the apostles off to rest while he carried out the mission? Or, did their crossing over in the boat, time alone with Jesus, refresh them enough they could continue?
This may be an invitation to place our cares in God’s hands; to take time to be alone with Jesus; letting the Spirit work through us, so that whether at rest or at work, we can experience peace.
In the lives of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer . . .
In the light of this reflection we look back over the past week. How did we experience the peace and rest God desires for us?
On Sunday, some of the Sisters, including those in Formation, joined the Norbertine Community for Evening Prayer. The Norbertine’s chose to invite others to join them each Sunday evening for prayer in celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life. During the prayer the charism and spirituality of a particular religious congregation is shared. This communal prayer, prayed in the monastic style of chanting the psalms provided a rhythm of prayer that soothed the spirit and offered a space of peace and rest for body and soul. The sharing about St. Vincent and the charism of the Vincentian congregation reminded us that it is God’s work that makes all things possible. All we need is an open receptive heart – no room for stress and anxiety!
Going out for ice cream afterwards also helped us rest awhile and enjoy time together!
Two Sisters have been on vacation this week – enjoying time of rest and relaxation with family.
Some of us gathered one evening to allow our hearts to be broken open as we listened to stories about the reality of human trafficking. While certainly a difficult experience, such disequilibrium to God’s desire for peace, moved us to take some steps toward greater awareness and justice in our daily lives. From the First Reading “I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing” (Jeremiah 23:1-6).
A rainy day in the garden shortened the Redeemer Ministry Corps (RMC) volunteers service day in the community garden so they received a bit of rest after their efforts to harvest produce and after getting thoroughly soaked.
Speaking of RMCs, several of us attended a presentation prepared by one of the RMCs and the ministry site where she has volunteered this year. The site provides medical and holistic care to women experiencing cancer. We learned of the peace such care brings to women at each stage of their journey from initial diagnosis, to surgery, recovery and beyond.
Weekly, if not daily, we receive requests to pray for individuals and families and their unique situations. Occasionally we are asked to visit them. This past week was no exception. We realize how much peace and comfort it brings people when they ask for prayers for their loved ones, or know that their loved one will receive extra visits.
As Sisters, we know that our lives and faith are sustained only through daily time to be alone with Jesus. We have discovered that such time given allows us to give of our time and energy when needed and it allows God to work through us to minister to others!
In Your life . . .
Perhaps you will want to try this exercise. Next time you feel stressed, anxious, and/or tired, let yourself hear Jesus speak these words to you, “Come away by yourself to a quiet place and rest a while.” How does this invitation make you feel? What do you desire? How do you respond?
Can you allow yourself to step aside (even for a few moments) to be still and alone with Jesus?
If so, how does this affect your body, your attitude and your work?
Be at peace