16TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - B
After their successful mission, the Twelve Apostles reported to Jesus all they had done! The first thing Jesus did was to bring them to a lonely place to rest!
After a day's work we long for home; after a week we look forward for the weekend to spend quality time with the family; after a year we take a holiday; after a life's work we just simply want to retire to enjoy the fruits of our labor. It's all about rest!
After creating the world for six days, God "rested" on the seventh day, not because he got tired but to initiate the Sabbath which is a day dedicated to himself. And so goes the
commandment: "Keep holy the Sabbath day."
Resting is imbedded in nature. Even the day is designed to give way for everything in creation to rest at evening time. Even the most powerful machines are given time to rest!
Our bodies being the most complex machine ever created need need some time to be re-charged, rejuvenated and re-created! That is why we all need at least eight hours of sleep everyday! We also need a healthy lifestyle by eating the right amount of the right food and avoiding those that may harm our bodies. We also take exercise knowing that it is good for our bodies. But our
need is not just physical! We are also spiritual beings which sometimes many of us have forgotten.
Psalm 36 beautifully captures it: "O God, you are my God, for you I long! For you my soul is thirsting! My body pines for you, like a dry weary land without water. So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory."
Even if our body is fully rested, there is a longing deep within us for something spiritual because that is the way we were created! We were not just created for ourselves and for other people; we have a soul that longs for its creator: "You have made us for yourself and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you" (St. Augustine).
We all get tired and we long for physical rest but when we find life exhausting Jesus reminds us: "Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest" (Mt. 11:29). Sometimes we have a
wrong sense of value that we plunge on different ways to rejuvenate us; we have forgotten God who
is the only one who can re-create!
Why do we come to mass especially on Sunday? It's not because we will go to hell if we miss one! The word 'restaurant' comes from the Latin word 'restaurare' which means to restore. If we get hungry and we don't want to cook, we just go to a restaurant to eat out most especially with our loved ones. After eating in a restaurant, aren't we restored? We could say that the Church is our spiritual restaurant where we gather together with the Christian community in order to eat God's Word and the Body and Body of Christ. We come to Church in order to be nourished that no other restaurant in the world could give! Then we go back to the world restored!
Our need for spiritual nourishment is not just satiated by the Eucharist on Sunday, we also need our one on one re-charging with God. There is a need for us to spend sometime with God, just us and God. Our prayer life is most important, not just in saying devotional prayers or the mechanical prayers we know of but most especially to spend a regular time to be alone with God! Often times this is the most neglected part of our spiritual journey! We feel as if we are wasting our time to be with God and yet we don't mind wasting our time to be in front of TV for hours watching our favorite programs.
This is what the Gospel reminds us this Sunday: to go back to the Source! To be re-charged, to be rejuvenated, to be re-created!