We celebrate the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time this weekend. In the Gospel passage, Jesus is gathered with the apostles and he invites them: “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” People are coming at them from all sides, and they do not even have the opportunity to eat, so Jesus encourages them to take care of themselves for a bit before they continue ministering to others. Many of us have had the experience of “full and hectic days” when we seem to be running about in many directions. We short-change ourselves as we try to keep up with what sometimes seems an unrealistic pace. It happens in our homes, within our families, at work, in our generosity to volunteer in different organization, and even in ministry. We know how important it is to have a healthy balance in our lives. Jesus, too, knew the importance of having balance between time for God, for self, and for others. When we care for ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually, then we can better care for others in all of those ways. Jesus suggests a “deserted place.” We don’t necessarily have to go a great distance to find a “deserted place” or a “holy place.” Some of us are able to find them in our own homes, or in our own rooms. Others find them outdoors, in a park, out for a walk, or sitting in our yard. Some find them in church by coming early for some quiet time, or by going away to spend some time in retreat. The special places create spaces where we can be by ourselves to rest, to read a book, to read the bible, to pray, to listen to music, or to engage in some form of creative enrichment for ourselves (scrapbooking, woodworking, writing poetry or journaling, playing a musical instrument, etc.). To be healthy and holy individuals, we need to visit our “deserted places” often so that we can be refreshed and renewed by the Spirit of God. Summer is often the time when many of us find time for rest and relaxation. Hopefully, in that time, we also create some space for God and church.
You won’t be seeing me at Masses this weekend as I have taken time to go off to one of my favorite places, Nazareth (CSJ Motherhouse and Center). This Sunday we are celebrating jubilees: Sister Janet Pewoski is celebrating her Golden Jubilee. We are remaining for the week. Both of us signed up for the same retreat that begins Monday. We have an excellent retreat director, a Jesuit named, Father Matt Linn. Please pray for us. I am really looking forward to a spiritually enriching week! I hope you have an enriching week as well.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ