Father Michael's  Gospel Reflection

July 18, 2021

Mark (6:30-34, 53-56)


According to the Gospel of Mark, upon return from their first mission, the disciples gathered around Jesus to report on their activities.  He had sent them out in pairs to proclaim the gospel, to cast out demons and to heal the sick - and now they had come back, exhausted.  Jesus saw that they were tired and weary, so he invited them to go off with him to a quiet, deserted place to rest and renew their spirits. 
As it turned out, neither Jesus nor the disciples got much rest that day for the crowds had seen them leave and ran ahead to meet him at the deserted place where Jesus was headed.  When Jesus and the disciples arrived by boat, there were thousands of people already waiting for them.  But, rather than show his displeasure at the cancellation of his 'day off,' Jesus embraced them with compassion, because they seemed to him to be sheep without a shepherd.  So, instead of relaxing, Jesus and the disciples set about the task at hand, teaching, helping, and healing - rest would have to wait.
This reminds me of how Christ Church stayed focused on its mission to serve the community over the past year and a half during this time of pandemic, when the church was mostly closed or, at best, only partially open. This already anxious time became all the more stressful due to the social and political turmoil occurring both at home and abroad.  Yet the staff, parish leaders and volunteers persevered in their commitment to serve the community even though they were desperately tired and in need of rest—both physically and spiritually. They had compassion for their fellow human beings, so they acted to meet the needs of our neighbors despite their own fatigue.  These folks deserve our praise and gratitude--and perhaps the time has come for them to take that long delayed break, as others step forward to shoulder some of the burden of operating this dynamic and wonderful faith community.  What do you think?