“Come away…”Jesus teaches us that at times we must distance ourselves from our work. We can easily give into temptation to just keep working, not taking a break. We may feel that we don’t want to waste time, we must finish the job, we must press on in order to get ahead. The problem with that attitude, though, is that we can lose focus, we can forget why we are working, and in the end we stop being productive. Without opportunities of distancing ourselves from our everyday business we can lose ourselves in our lives.
“…to a deserted place by yourselves…”Jesus invites the apostles to come away to a deserted place by themselves. It was important for Jesus to choose a place that was deserted, silent. The need for silence and solitude is found in every human heart, because it is in silence that we can find God. Only in silence and solitude can we let go of all the noise that clutters our lives, and we can begin to think, reflect, and listen to the whisper of God. Jesus is depicted in the Gospels taking that time of silence and solitude for himself. We read that early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus would go away to a deserted place and pray. It was important for Jesus to spend that time with God the Father, without any distractions, just him alone with the Father. It was important for Jesus to teach the apostles to make time for solitude, silence, and prayer. It is important for us to take that time in our lives and come away to a place where we can experience a personal encounter with God through prayer.
“… and rest a while” The point of coming away to a deserted place was to rest. We must understand that when Jesus speaks of rest, he does not mean taking the time to run away from reality, from your life. The problem with seeing rest as a time of running away for a while is that when we come back all the craziness of our life will still be there. When Jesus speaks of rest he invites the apostles to an experience of silent prayer, meditation and reflection. It is a time to be renewed by the presence of God and the gift of looking at our lives from a distance. The goal of our rest is to help us embrace our life, to be renewed in our relationship with God and our understanding of ourselves. When we take the time for this kind of rest we will come back ready to face our life with joy and understanding.
Fr. Wojtek Kuzma