The apostles returned and reported to Jesus all they had done and taught.Â Then he said to them, â€śGo off by yourselves to a remote place and have some rest.â€ťÂ For there were so many people coming andÂ Â going that the apostles had no time even to eat.Â And they went away in the boat to a secluded area by themselves.Â But people saw them leaving, and many could guess where they were going.Â So, from all the towns, they hurried there on foot, arriving ahead of them.Â As Jesus went ashore, he saw a large, ad he had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a shepherd.Â And he began a long teaching session with them. Â â€”Mark 5: 30 â€“ 34
The apostles were called and sent by Jesus and in His name they preached and taught about the good news of salvation.Â They healed the sick and sent out demons (evil spirits) from people who were possessed.Â They went from town to town to announce that the Kingdom of God is at hand. They became so familiar, popular, and sensational because they did great things of proclamation and of healing.
This is the price of following Jesus.Â When one becomes an authentic witness of the gospel and commits to a task for the sake of the Kingdom, one also receives the responsibility.Â And since they were sent by Jesus, they returned and updated the Master on what they had done.Â And Jesus saw that they were tired and yet inspired, willing and able, but they needed to take some time off from their work to rest and eat.
Today, the apostles are embodied in the lives of the countless church workers serving in the name of the Lord.Â The successors of the apostles and disciples are those who followed Jesus acting in His behalf as missionaries or workers in the Church. In the early Church, the elders of the community of faith led the faithful in their prayers, liturgies, celebrations and services.Â The elders of the Church were assisted by the presbyters (priests) and deacons. Â And they continued the task of preaching, teaching, healing, and the like.Â The task is also known today as evangelization, to share to all nations and peoples the Good News of Godâ€™s saving love.
In the gospel, it was shown that Jesus had compassion on the people for they needed a shepherd, and a good one.Â The same feeling was also shared by the apostles during that time so they took theÂ invitation and challenge of Jesus.Â Today, Christians who are followers of Christ also feel the same.Â Today, a number of Christians commit to God and in the various pastoral ministries and apostolates of the Church; in the healing, teaching, counseling, social services, formation, family life, youth, and prison, among others.Â The Catholic Church has around 1 billion members all over the world comprising the different traditions and rites in communion.
The Catholic Church is made up of many local Churches but it is also only â€śOneâ€ť as it is universal, all baptized members share the same communion.Â The members of the Church continue to commit and work in the ministries and programs of the Church (in the different levelsâ€”international, national, local, parish, neighborhood) thru their worship, education, social services, temporalities, organization, and youth ministries.Â The local churches may be distinct from one another, and its parishes within each diocese vary. But all dioceses and parishes are guided by the same divine Â inspiration and teaching and their works are concrete expressions of the very instructions of Jesus and tasks given to us.Â It is always a joy for Christians to serve others.
But the apostles needed time to rest and eat, too.Â Jesusâ€™ instruction was very clear. Â And it remains true to the present workers of the Church today, our missionaries and those who work for the Kingdom.
Earlier this week, I had a good and â€śsacredâ€ť time with the Titus Brandsma Media Circle (TBMCircle)â€”a group of journalists, editors, photojournalists, publishers, writers and producersÂ from the mainstream and alternative media.Â We met for our regular â€śLectio Divinaâ€ť and to celebrate our friendship and our passion for the Word of God and its message.
We gathered in faith, in friendship and in prayer.Â We shared significant and meaningful personal experiences, thoughts and concerns in relation to the Gospel reading.Â Like the apostles who were tired coming from their missions and they needed time to rest and eat, so are we.Â The gospel is also addressed to the group.Â What do we do when we are tired and worn-out. How do we take care of ourselvesâ€”our spirits and our bodies?Â Are we all well- attuned in life, healthy and balance?
We had an evening of fun as we shared stories, insights, prayers, and reflections, and most of all, dinner.Â We also asked for some ways and techniques on how to fully rest and relax our minds and bodies.Â Mindfulness is the key, and discipline follows.Â We should be fair and just to ourselves whenever we are faced with the demands and tight schedules of our work.Â We should never allow ourselves to be shaped by man-made pressures and be controlled by deadlines and the pursuit of scoops.Â It is not easy though, but we should realize that our well-being and welfare is equally important if we want to continue with our work and mission.
We need to take seriously the instruction of Jesus that we also need to rest: time to eat, to relax, to sleep, and to enjoy life. For some reading is resting, to go fishing is resting, star-gazing is resting; while others meditate and undergo a spiritual retreat and reflection in silence.Â Retreat is also a restful momentâ€”to give time to oneself with God and with nature.
Inspired from Jesusâ€™ instructions to his apostles, let us ask ourselves:
Do we commit and involve ourselves in the ministries and apostolate of the Church?
Do we spend quality time with the Lord?
Do we take time to rest from our busy life and spend quality time in prayer, in silence, in community worship?
Have we allotted meaningful time in silence, in meditation, in organized retreat and reflection?
Prayer:Â Almighty God, as we respond to your invitation to proclaim to all creation the Good News of our salvation, guide and protect us in our everyday mission and ministry where we are committed and involved for your glory in the Church and in the world.Â May we rest in Your Â heart and be blessed by your loving and saving grace.Â This we ask through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.