16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Deacon: Rev. Liam Dunne

Published on June 21, 2024

Mark 6:30-34              “Come away”

The disciples have returned from their mission, eager to fill Jesus in on everything that’s happened.  But the buzz around him means they have little space to rest or even eat.  Jesus senses that his friends need a break and attempts to bring them away to a ’deserted place’ where they can be by themselves – perhaps to encourage them into deeper contemplation and understanding of the journey they are on.  However, the plans are disrupted by the crowds who have needs of their own.  In this short passage Jesus provides for those around him in different ways – offering his close companions the gift of time and rest, and giving the crowd (‘sheep without a shepherd’) the teaching they are hungry for.

Rest, contemplation and prayer are important elements of the spiritual journey, and we might feel some sympathy for the disciples whose quiet time is so rudely cut short.  Just a few verses later in Mark, we will see Jesus withdraws up a mountain by himself to pray.  We all need time out from the busyness of life to recharge our spiritual batteries, reflect and contemplate.  “Contemplation is the practice of being fully present – in heart, mind, and body – to what is, in a way that allows you to creatively respond and work towards what could be.”  Prayer and action are two sides of the same coin – when we open our lives to God, our ordinary experiences become part of our prayer and, as we share our experiences with God, we come to new insights and are inspired to respond anew to the challenges of life.

© Triona Doherty & Jane Mellet, 2023.  The Deep End: A Journey with the Sunday Gospels in the Year of Mark.  (Dublin: Messenger Publications 2023)

 

‘We pray our experiences when we use the content of our lived experience as the content of our prayer. . .  All of us have probably prayed this way, although we called it by another name . . .  Yet, in retrospect, this time of thinking, questioning, and getting ourselves together might have been as helpful to our faith life as hours of formal prayer.                  – Joseph E. Schmidt