Even into this week, I keep thinking about a line in last Sunday’s gospel. Mark makes this observation about the moment Jesus‘ followers were experiencing: “People were coming and going in great numbers, and they (the disciples) had no opportunity even to eat" (Mark 6.31). Obviously they didn’t know about high energy protein drinks!
It was true in Jesus’ time – it’s true in our time, isn’t it? Our lives are so busy, so scheduled that the end result is…stress.
Stress is found in family life when both spouses work or one spouse works two jobs, and the demands of youth activities add to the stress. Single parent households have their own set of difficulties. Stress also comes from work – job security, work quotas, long hours and commutes, and from relationships going south. Stress is not respecter of age either. Children and youth on sports teams, at summer camps improving one’s skills in a particular area find stress as their daily milieu. Stress is for real.
I’m fairly sure that Jesus never heard or used the word “stress,” but he surely knew how it affected human action. Whenever he preached or healed people trying to reach him in such numbers that he, too, found “there was no time to eat.”
Jesus recognized the human need to take a break and he encouraged his disciples to rest awhile.
How do we follow the lead of Jesus? What might Jesus teach us about life in our times and culture? Jesus might say…
Your life is good and blessed if it includes:
- A time to play without having to win every time
- A time to do things without having to perform
- A time to put aside the cell phone and pay attention to those around you
- A time to be alone without being lonely
- A time to place yesterday’s cares in the hands of a gracious and caring God
- A time to laugh at ourselves
- A time to dream
- A time to talk with close friends about real concerns, hopes and fears and not just the latest programs or movies.
As summer goes on, you and I can reduce stress and open ourselves to new meaning, balance and perspective in life with God. What it takes is to say “yes” to Jesus who says to us as he said to his closest followers: “Come aside and rest awhile.”
~Sister Joan Sobala
~Sister Joan Sobala