“Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.”
The apostles had returned after their first mission by themselves and had gathered around Jesus for some debriefing. What a beautiful scene as they shared their various experiences with him. Having listened to everything they had to say, Jesus invited them to come away and rest awhile.
This was an opportunity for them to learn more from Jesus, to reflect on their relationship to him and renew their decision to follow him. He had come into their world and offered them the chance to join him in bringing about a different kind of world, an alternative to the unfair world they lived in. He had told them to preach repentance, to invite people to look at life through fresh eyes and from a different perspective.
‘Hope is the belief that things need not be as they are – that they can be different, that we are not prisoners of the past or the present, that we can make for humankind a different future….In essence, it is a belief in possibilities – not that things will be better, but that things can be different’ – Quoted from THE FURROW, Sept 2016
Jesus had told them about the cruel fate of John the Baptizer and he would keep reminding them about the cost of following him. He didn’t want his disciples to lock him up inside their comfort zones and use him as a means to self-fulfilment. They would learn from him that true fulfilment depends not in pre-occupation with self, but knowing God through surrender.
Blessed John Henry Newman, the 19th century’s most important theologian, said after becoming Catholic that surrender ‘was like coming into port after a rough sea.’
Jesus and the twelve were tired and sight to escape the maddening crowds. Upon reaching the other side of the lake the crowds appeared to be even bigger, and hungrier, and they wanted even more from Jesus. The situation brought something out in Jesus. We are told that his heart was moved with pity.
Pity, compassion, mercy, tenderness, kindness, forgiveness, and generosity, love: these are the attributes of God we find scattered up and down the scriptures. It was to wallow in these qualities of God that Jesus invited the twelve to ‘come away and rest awhile.’
Fr. QQ. 8/22/18