A HOMILY FOR THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “B” – 7/22/18 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We all know that tired, yet grateful, that worn out, yet satisfied, feeling that we can get, when we finish some big accomplishment. It’s a good feeling. It’s a feeling of satisfaction. A good friend of mine, just finished directing a play. For two and half months she poured all of her energy, all of her creativity, into that play, and last weekend, after a fourteen day run, the play had its final performance. She told me that when it was over, she slept for three days. I have several friends of mine who had or have children getting married this summer. And they too, worked for months, in some cases, years, to get ready for their son or daughter’s wedding. And when it is over, there is a feeling of accomplishment, but you can also be very tired, and need a break. And sometimes you don’t need a big event like a play, or a wedding, or a family reunion, or a big project at work, to make you need to take a break. Sometimes, just life in general, working every day, and every day family and marriage and neighborhood issues, can demand that you take a break, that once in a while you do something to get away from it all. This is a great Gospel to hear in the middle of July, when a lot of people are taking vacations. Everybody needs a break once in a while.
Today, as a reminder of this, we hear the story from St. Mark of Jesus’ Apostles coming back to Him after being sent out, on their trial mission. They’ve gone out. They’ve done the work of God. They’ve healed people, and taught, and expelled demons, and they’ve told the story of Jesus, and just what God was doing for His people. And maybe they looked tired, or they sounded tired, but we hear Jesus call them to come away, by themselves, to take a break. You know how we really know how crazy things were? There’s that line in this very Gospel text that says, “They had no opportunity even to eat.” That’s busy! When you are so busy that you don’t get to eat, that when you know you’ve got to take a break. That doesn’t happen when you’re Italian. Italians might eat while they are working, but we would never forget to eat, because we are too busy!
So today, Jesus invites the Apostles to come away with Him. It might be a retreat, it might be a vacation, it might just be a long weekend, but Jesus clearly recognizes the need for rejuvenation and renewal. It just doesn’t happen exactly like Jesus planned. They get to where they are going, and there’s a whole, big, bunch of people there, waiting on them. The planned retreat has to be put on hold. The needs of the people were so great, Jesus was moved with pity for them. He says that “They are like sheep without a shepherd.” And He and the Apostles immediately begin to minister to them.
Sometimes our plans get messed up, and our retreats, or even our vacations, maybe have to be put on hold, because of our responsibilities. Things happen. But that doesn’t mean that we just forget about taking a break, or going on a retreat, or even going on vacation. A simple break, maybe even a day or two, can do wonders for our spirits and our souls. And there’s nothing wrong with a taking a break, even when you’re busy. Maybe busy people are the ones who most need to take a break! And remember, this is also coming from the same God who
rested on the seventh day, after He created the world. And the same God Who commands that we keep the Day of the Lord, the Christian Sabbath, HOLY, by rest, and prayer, and making time for family and friends.
Don’t get me wrong, our work, our responsibilities, the necessity of our helping out and being involved, are also extremely important to God. Our work and how we use our time is very important! God only gives each one of us, so much time! And being lazy, or sloth, is one of the seven deadly sins. And I mention this, because I am extremely concerned that we have a couple of generations now, of Americans, who have no idea how to work, or how to put in a decent day of work. But what God is saying this week, is that sometimes, everybody needs to take a break.
This might be a good opportunity to ask you, when’s the last time you went on a retreat? I’m not talking about a retreat at a beach or a bar. We’ve got enough Catholics who know how to do those retreats. No, I mean a real retreat, with prayer, and Mass, and a retreat director? You know, the Catholic Church requires priests, and sisters, and deacons, to make a retreat every year. The Diocese is going to ask me later, when and where I did my annual retreat. If retreats really are that important, then why aren’t we asking ALL Catholics to make an annual retreat? Think about that. You know, we have a new diocesan retreat center in Tipton, Indiana now. We really aren’t that far from St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana either. There are lots of retreats available for all Catholics. What would it take to get you to go to one of them? Maybe you should think about it.
Life does get crazy for all of us. We just finished the Italian Festival. School and PRE and our youth groups are all starting soon. We live in a never-ending cycle of busy-ness! Let’s keep our perspective. Let’s do our best. And let’s not forget to take a break when we need to!
+ God bless us and help us to live out our Faith, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!