| by Angela Lambert
July 19th, 2015; 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel Mark 6:30-34 NAB
“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.”
This passage describes so well the spiritual life of a parent. As a mother I feel that call of Christ to come away with Him “to a deserted place” away from the busy activity of everyday life to “rest a while”. For me, this tends to be my cozy living room chair where I curl up with coffee, my bible, and prayer books to spend a tranquil and quiet moment with my Lord. For this to happen of course, my children need to be sleeping. In family life however there are no deserted places, at least not for long and children do not necessarily stay sleeping as you would hope. I have had more success now that my kids are older, if I get up very early at least. However, there have been many times, especially when my kids were little, that my refreshment with the Lord was interrupted by one of my children. They have the keenest ears or some kind of child sixth sense that no matter how quietly I tiptoe, even taking acrobatic steps over the creaky stair, they see me “leaving…and come to know about it.” Then they “hasten” to get to me. My heart would then be “moved with pity for them,” and I would tend to their need or let them sit with me. When all three of my kids were younger I felt like giving up on finding time alone with God altogether and just substituting serving God for sitting with God. Yet, Christ truly desires us to make this time with Him. He knows we need rest and that we need it with Him, alone and removed in some way from the world. This passage reminds me to make time with Christ a priority, and at the same time not to get frustrated if it is interrupted by one of my beautiful children needing me.
- Reflect on how Christ’ desires time alone with you, sometimes above anything you can do for Him. Consider His love for you personally.
- Relate Christ’s example in this Scripture passage to your own life – who are the “sheep” in your life that call forth your pity? How might you care for them in a similar way as Christ did? What attitude do you want to take toward them?
- When do you make time to be alone with Christ?
- When you do make that time, how does it refresh you?
- When you don’t make that time, what often prevents you? What excuses do you sometimes make?
- Do you ever substitute serving Christ for sitting with Christ? How might you find balance between the two?
Make a Resolution (Practical Application):
- Think about your day and your obligations. Choose a time that you will set aside just for Christ. If you are married or have kids, discuss it with them as well and ask them to help you have those minutes alone. Start with 15 minutes.
- Ask Christ for the gift of joy and patience toward the seemingly constant needs of your children and family life so that you may imitate Him as the loving, Good Shepherd.
|* These Sunday meditations are intended to engage the heart and imagination in prayer and include a practical application (resolutions) to your daily life. In our presentation on prayer I offer a more detailed discussion of ways to pray with Scripture that can take 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or half an hour and vary in depth depending on your time-frame and prayer goals.|