Time Away

Time Away

By Fr. Norm Tanck, CSB

In today’s Gospel we see that Jesus and the disciples were so overwhelmed with the needs and demands of others that they need time to get away, to think and pray, to plan and dream, and to rest and regroup. The Gospel of Mark tells us that they were so busy that they couldn’t even find time to eat. So Jesus says to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” There are times when we need to get away and tend to ourselves. If we don’t take time for ourselves, our bodies will take it for us. How often have you found yourself trying to fight off a yawn or stay awake at a meeting? We know that more serious things that can happen if we don’t take the time to rest or exercise, to slow down and calm down. We can also find ourselves lonely if we do not make quality time to be with friends and family. And we need time for prayer; personal time, for private prayer and time to pray in community. Psalm 23 reminds us that, “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose; Near restful waters he leads me; to revive my drooping spirit.” But that doesn’t excuse us from being aware of the world around us. Today’s Gospel points us back to the world we leave behind as we tend to our personal or communal needs. From their private place Jesus looks and sees all those who were still seeking healing and comfort from him. The Gospel tells us that later Jesus, “saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things”.

Sunday’s Readings: Jeremiah 23.1-6 Psalm 23 Ephesians 2.13-18 Mark 6.30-34

Doing the Hard Work

Doing the Hard Work

By Elizabeth Chesley-Jewell

In the Atrium when we speak about the liturgical seasons we tell the children that, “green is for the growing time.” The idea of growing is brought to life when we talk about the kingdom of God being like a grain of wheat, a mustard seed, or how Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches. In each of these instances we focus on growth being something joyful and miraculous, like how a seed can break open so that a mighty stalk of wheat may emerge. The readings for this week emphasize more of the hard work that we as humans must put into our relationship with Jesus. In the gospel, Jesus returns to his hometown and despite being one of their own the townspeople could not believe in him. Their hearts and minds were blocked possibly by fear, envy, and pride. They were unable to recognize these weaknesses as a problem and, in doing so, could not put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Instead of placing their trust in Him they turned away. In the second reading Paul shows that hard work must occur to keep our relationship with Jesus growing. In times of suffering Paul turns to the Lord and asks him to remove his sufferings. Jesus responds, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” This allows Paul to realize that he has no greater companion in his suffering than Jesus Christ who suffered and died for the sins of humanity. Paul tells us, “whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” Strength comes from turning to Jesus in our suffering, whether we are angry, scared, or in pain. The simple act of turning to Jesus shows our faith in Him, and in turn, we do receive peace and grace. Personally, I suffer from anxiety which can lead to immense feelings of fear and sadness. During these moments of anxiety my relationship with Jesus can drift to the way side. I’m like Paul, begging for my anxiety to leave me instead of seeking comfort and understanding from my compassionate God. I still have belief, but my fear is getting in the way of my relationship. The hard work is breaking myself open, so I may be completely vulnerable and place all my suffering in the hands of Jesus Christ. Everyone of us has weaknesses and experiences pain and suffering. Today, let us place our weaknesses in the hands of our compassionate Lord Jesus Christ and allow ourselves to find strength in his healing love.

Sunday’s Readings:

  • Ezekiel 2.3-5
  • Psalm 123
  • 2 Corinthians 12.7-10
  • Mark 6.1-6

St. John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist

By Lisa Fernandes

Today is the Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, one of the oldest celebrations in the Church. And a popular holiday in Québec (St. Jean-Baptiste Day). John is an important figure in that he is a forerunner of Christ. This is shown in that his birthday is June 24th, six months before the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Ordinarily the death of a Saint is celebrated as a Feast Day but there are two notable exceptions, Mary and St John the Baptist where their birth is celebrated instead. While not officially declared as such, many believe that John was cleansed of original sin when he recognized Jesus and leaped within his mother’s womb. As we read in the first reading: “…pay attention, you peoples from far away! And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant,…” (Isaiah 49.5) Pope Francis recognizes the importance of St. John the Baptist as a model of evangelizing when he says, “In sharing the Gospel with others, Christians must be like St. John the Baptist, preparing the way for the Lord, pointing him out to others, then stepping aside.” Perhaps in that way, we can all be precursors of Christ’s second coming. John baptized Jesus and knew from the start of Jesus’ greatness. He shows his admiration and how unimportant he is in comparison to Jesus in the second reading when he says: ”…one is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of the sandals on his feet.” (Acts 13.25) John knew from the beginning he was special, as unworthy as he considered himself in comparison. His mother Elizabeth became pregnant with him even though she was not of childbearing age. He knew in the womb that he was there to herald Christ. Even when it came time to name him, though he would normally receive a relative’s name, like that of his father Zechariah, instead Elizabeth said his name would be John. Zechariah used a writing tablet and wrote: “His name is John.” (Luke 1.63) after which he regained his power of speech. John spent most of his early life in the desert until he appeared publicly — again being a forerunner to Jesus. In those days in the desert he went through dark times doubting his role but then gave light to the world in foretelling Christ. We all may sometimes feel we are going through dark times, but can look forward to the light of Christ.

Sunday’s Readings:

Isaiah 49.1-6

Psalm 139

Acts 13.22-26

Luke 1.57-66, 80