July 22, 2018
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
JER 23:1-6 PS 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6 EPH 2:13-18 MK 6:30-34
Jesus tells his disciples in today’s Gospel: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” They had just returned from spreading the Gospel throughout the region, telling Him of their experiences. He knew they needed to recover, to charge their batteries as it were. As luck would have it, though, there were equal parts hustle and bustle where they were, so much so they had “no opportunity even to eat.” They hopped a boat and headed to a deserted place, only to dock and find crowds waiting for them. So much for that rest. So much for that peace and quiet.
But maybe the disciples got their rest after all. Maybe they got what was needed during the boat trip, with Jesus in their midst. Jesus, the source of our peace – as St Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “he is our peace” – is always with us, and as the good shepherd, leads us to verdant pastures in which he gives us repose. If Christ is truly leading us in our lives, if we allow Him to shepherd us, then we will experience peace in the unlikeliest places and during the most implausible circumstances. We don’t need to get away from it all to experience His peace – we need to give it all to Jesus, and He’ll do the rest. He is The Verdant Pasture.
Yes, we’ll find peace when we are sharing intimate moments with Him – in Scripture, in prayer, during Adoration, at Mass. Times when we are able to focus on Him and His love for us. But we can also find peace during the hectic, chaotic moments of life as well: when we remember He’s always focusing on us, constantly loving us, when we are distracted or overwhelmed, when we’re unable to retreat to a deserted place. When we have no opportunity to eat. Jesus is always with us, guiding us and giving us His peace. We are not sheep without a shepherd. He guides us in right paths, as long as we are willing to follow Him to the cross, and even there, find our rest.
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