Obligated to Rest: Reflections on the Sunday Gospel Mark 6:30-34 by Father Steven LaBaire

Most people experience a different rhythm of life during the summer months.

School is out. People head out on vacation or go away. One need only look at the volume of traffic in Worcester as ask, “Where did everyone go?”

During the summer, many of us experience a “slowing down” of the pace of life.

Kevin Dooley Slice of paradise, Flickr Creative Commons
Kevin Dooley Slice of paradise, Flickr Creative Commons

We’re told in this Sunday’s gospel that Jesus and his disciples “rested for awhile.” Actually, Jesus “ commands” his disciples to rest. (Mark 6:30-34)

Do you know that the Commandments of the Hebrew Scriptures (The 10 Commandments) and the Precepts of the Church actually “command” us to spend one day out of seven resting and putting aside the hurried, busy pace of life?

Yeah, I know people these days often dislike “being commanded” to do something. I often get into interesting discussions with folks about “obligation” and being told “they have an obligation” to do this or that. Being “commanded” or reminded of an “obligation” is often seen as an assault on personal freedom.

But what if your doctor tells you that you have an “obligation” to care for your health? What if a therapist “commanded” a parent to be more protective of their children’s well-being? Is the doctor or therapist a “tyrant” for stating a path that must be taken?

The bottom line is that as Christians we are commanded to rest. We are obligated to alter the busy, often hectic rhythm of life and allow our bodies, minds and spirits to be renewed and refreshed. It is a sacred duty.

Liber the poet resting. Flickr Creative Commons
Liber the poet resting. Flickr Creative Commons

Spending a day, doing very little, except for focusing and reflecting on everything we’ve been given and blessed with, not only alters the mood, it can help us think more clearly about where we need to go in life.

A day “de-cluttered” of running around is actually good for the brain. (That’s what the latest science is telling us, at least.) Maybe that’s why God and the Church command it.

I’m “obligated” to love myself enough so as to rest. Not a bad way to look at life.

A good rest may be one of the holiest things we undertake this week.

Copyright 2015 Steven Michael LaBaire

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