16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 22, 2012)

I can certainly empathize with Jesus and the Apostles. After a day’s ministry, there’s nothing better than kicking off the shoes, getting into some comfy clothes, plopping myself into the easy chair and either reading a novel or watching a favorite TV show. But as with Jesus, the demands don’t stop because I’ve started to relax. Many have been the times over the years when relaxation had to give way to the demands of ministry.

Several years ago when I lived alone at the Solitude of the Savior, I decided to get in the rowboat after supper and do some fishing. About a half hour later, I saw a boat from the house on the opposite shore heading in my general direction. Well lo and behold, he comes right up to me. I’m wondering “What the heck?”… he asks if I have a minute. I respond that I do, and then he starts to ask questions about Scripture!!! It was definitely the oddest place I’ve ever had a Scripture Study class!!! No fish for dinner, either!

Parents certainly know the feeling of having to be constantly “on duty.” So do those caring for elderly parents. When one spouse has a hard day at work, and wants to relax before dinner, s/he certainly can’t tune out the other who’s had an equally hard day. The calls to love are seemingly never-ending.

Every committed Christian faces the tension experienced by Jesus and his disciples. On the one hand, there is the need to go to a quiet place to recharge one’s batteries and regenerate one’s spiritual energy. At the same time, we need to respond generously when there is a real need.

The emphasis is on ‘real need.’ This calls for discernment. There will be times when, with difficulty, we know we should say ‘Yes.’ There will be other times when, in spite of the criticism it may generate, we ought to say ‘No.’ We need to be available but there is no absolute availability.

We are limited in the quality of service we can give … our physical, mental, and spiritual energy does not come from a bottomless well. We are vessels, not wells. That’s an important distinction! God will raise up other people to do what we cannot do at that moment.

Be God’s smile for someone today … smiling doesn’t take that much energy!!!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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