Friday 18 December 2015

Saturday of 4th Week, even numbered year Samedi de la 4e semaine, année paire

“Come away to some lonely place and rest a while.”

1 R.3,4-13 Ps.118 Mk.6,30-34

Saturday of 4th Week, even numbered year

“The apostles re-joined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. And he said to them ’Come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while.’ For there was so much coming and going that they didn’t even have enough time to eat.”

The Twelve come back from their mission all rejoicing. They had gone out everywhere two by two to proclaim the need for conversion; they had chased devils away and healed the sick. Back they had come, feeling happy, knowing how Jesus had trusted them, yet they were somewhat tired after their journey. It was impossible for them to rest where they were, since people were coming to see Jesus and talk with him. So Jesus anticipates : ’come away to a lonely spot to rest a while. ’They all go off together by boat away from the crowd.

This is when the apostles discover where Jesus takes his rest. The Gospel indicates how He spends long hours of prayer with His Heavenly Father. We see in the episode of the Samaritan how Jesus is tired and how he takes some rest beside a well. His rest will be to announce the Good News to this woman of Samaria.

Again, Jesus takes rest with Immaculate Mary, the most beautiful fruit of his labour on the Cross. She is Jesus’ rest, for she is the sanctified ’earth’, of an astonishing clarity, she is the fruit of His Passion, of His Infinite Love. God’s work shines forth from her as though from a mirror.

It can seem quite obvious how Jesus had wanted to give to the disciples the habit of taking rest with him. He sets an example, for He is the first to reserve moments of rest in prayer.

“So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by them.But people saw them going and recognised them and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them.”

These initiatives that Jesus takes where he rests, or where he proposes rest for his disciples, hide a mystery joining that of the Incarnation. Jesus is surrounded day and night, hemmed in, not even having time with his disciples to eat,

responding to all these visits. The poor and the sick are there, they sense Jesus is there and so they wait for Jesus. So Jesus goes, guiding with his little flock!

By experience Jesus knows it’s a question of holding out for a long time and that the human body has its limits. Wisely, he gets his friends to rest so as to ensure they can announce their mission the best way possible. The rest they will take will be in His presence, listening to Jesus and commending everything to Him. It is the rest given to all those who turn to Him in all confidence. ’Come away to a lonely place and rest a while’. Rest for the disciples will be Jesus Himself, the One sent from the Father, the One who lives fully from Infinite Love.

We find life in God through being baptised in Him, confirmed in His Love and benefitting from His Infinite Love.

When we remain in a life of faith , hope and love, this is how a disciple of Christ finds his rest. Christ is then going to announce the Word! We are going to become His Word, Jesus will care for others and heal through our hands. He will be the Salvation. He is in any case going to continue his work through us and we remain, finding our rest in Him.

“As Jesus stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.”

On the hills nearby to the lake, the poor haven’t let their eyes off Jesus’ boat as it gets further off-shore. Seeing the direction in which the boat was heading, many understood where it was going to. When Jesus gets out of the boat with his own disciples, instead of finding a calm peace and restful silence, he discovered on the hill-side a crowd of people come by foot from throughout the region : the sick and the poor who had ran there in order to be relieved of suffering and pain by Jesus. There were also men and women come merely to hear the Kingdom of God announced to all present.

Jesus feels a huge pity towards them, he is deeply moved, for all these people have no one to take them into care, to guide them, no one with great hope in their eyes nor in their hearts.

So at great length He speaks to them about the Father, His Love and His Will.

A huge crowd had gathered, and their needs are great.

The rest for the disciples comes in Jesus attending to this crowd, in his teaching. Yes, the rest for the disciples is in Jesus giving the food of His Word to this crowd.

At the heart of the Paschal mystery the rest of Jesus is given : through Him, with Him and in Him, to you, God the Father, all honour and all glory are yours, for ever and ever.

The Glory of God is Jesus who saves us and in the same movement He saves us, He gives Glory to his Father.

We ask for the grace to rest in God, to rest both in contemplation and in action.