Click to hear Audio Homily
While most of us like to head to the beach or to the mountains for much needed rest during this summer, some have sought rest by spending a few days in prayer at a retreat houses. One of our priests this week is in the desert of Phoenix, Arizona making his retreat. Sometimes it’s impossible to get away for a few days by ourselves because we have a family who needs us. I know a father of six young children who converted a closet in the house into a prayer closet. It has just enough room for a kneeler where he spends 20 minutes in prayer at the crack of dawn. Why do we need time away from people, to go away to a deserted place?
In today's gospel, the disciples come back exhausted from busy ministry work. Jesus invites them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Jesus knows that the disciples need time to recharge, to regain spiritual energy and strength. When do you set aside time to gain your spiritual energy and strength? Is it in the morning before anything starts? Or is it at the end of the tiring day, to plop down on an easy chair with the TV off? For myself, it’s early in the morning after I wake up at 4:30 or 5AM. I head to the chapel in the rectory, to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and Rosary, to reflect on the day’s mass readings, or to just spend the quiet time with our Lord. It is during this quiet time when I ask the Lord, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening… I have come to do your will. What do you desire of me today?” I’m not sure what would happen if I didn’t have this time. Most likely, I would switch back to desiring worldly ways.
We know that we cannot bear life’s burdens if we do not have contact with him who gave us life. We also know that that we cannot do God’s work unless we receive God’s strength. When we spend time with Jesus, the Good Shepherd will give us inspiration which can lift us out of ourselves and above ourselves. At the end of the day, tired and restless, Jesus the living bread will feed us and strengthen our weary soul. If you do not have time set aside each day to spend with Jesus, put it on your calendar. Write on the calendar, three minute-retreat with Jesus. In those few minutes, you can read the daily mass readings, a devotional, or even one decade of Rosary. Once you get used to three minutes of prayer, you can increase to 10 or even 15 minutes a day. Only in the company of Jesus can we walk in this busy world and remain steadfast. With Jesus we are in peace.
-Fr. Paul Yi