Before entering seminary, I used to assume that working hard was a sign of being close to success because I was the family’s breadwinner. Concerning my “workaholic” approach towards my profession as a nurse, I would always end up staying till the next shift and making myself available even on my day off. There were times I reported to work despite not feeling well. Furthermore, I had little choice when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. To fulfill deadlines, I continued to handle the paperwork while in quarantine.
In the Gospel, Jesus told the Apostles, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” He knew how tired they were after all they had done and taught during their mission. Jesus was well aware of their limitations and the need for rest. It was indeed a loving invitation from a compassionate Shepherd to His faithful servants.
In this chaotic world, the Gospel reminds me of the “rest” that I need. That is to take a break from worldly things for a while and nourish my spiritual well-being. Even God Himself rested from His work of creation on the day of the Sabbath. The desolate location Jesus pointed out to the Apostles is where I can reflect to establish a deeper relationship with Him. I consider the seminary to be the “deserted place” because it gives me setting to reflect as I heed His call.
As a priest-in-process, I am reminded to always listen to Jesus and to leave my old ways. Our present time is tough, but I believe that I can endure all these as long as I follow Him. Moreover, Jesus wanted me to learn not to give up when I become tired and weary, but simply to take a moment of rest.
By: Sem. Peter John D. Arao
The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.
When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.