Fr. T. Coonan Homily: 7-22-2012 Staying Close to the Source of Life
On the Fourth of July, after things were done in the parish, I went to spend the rest of the day with my family at a lake in northeast Indiana. When I arrived, my family warned me immediately: “don't dive off the dock, or at least be ready for very shallow water.” The lake had lost its depth this summer, being about a foot and a half lower than it normally is, and we all know why: there wasn't any rain, and the high temperatures made it much worse. The lake was giving and not being replenished.
Our Lord today commands his apostles to be replenished, saying “come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Rest here means what happens next: time alone with God. Even if it isn't for long before they get back into the swing of things, the apostles cannot survive without that time. They will run themselves dry, they will have nothing left to offer, if they are not replenished from the source of their life.
We ourselves are also God's messengers, baptized into Christ the great Priest, Prophet, and King, and we are to bring the message of Christ to the world as the apostles have done. However, if we don't stay close to the Lord, the message we carry will end up being more of our own than of His.
“Come away and rest a while.” Even though God sends us out on our mission to bring the Gospel to the world through our lives and relationships, we have to continually return to Him in order to fulfill that vocation properly.
Take Mother Teresa for an example: She said the only reason she and her sisters were able to serve the poor for 10-14 hours/day was because they first spent an hour with God in prayer before the tabernacle and the crucifix. This “rest” where they were taught in the classroom of silence by being with Christ was what kept them from running dry.
It is sometimes surprising how we often make God's will some difficult, harsh thing that is hard to follow, even if it's the right thing for us. Well, here's one of the many examples where God's will is easy, refreshing, and agreeable to us.
So why don't we do it enough? Why do we fail to rest in God through our prayer? Why do we fill up our Sundays with unnecessary activities that fill us with stress instead of with peace?
If God is our Shepherd, let us prove it by resting with him, listening to His voice, and following His lead. Whatever works for you, do it: whether it is the rosary, the Bible (esp. the Gospels), reading the lives or writings of the saints, meditating with Sacred Art or Music, or coming to the Chapel to be with the Lord Jesus present in the Eucharist. God isn't picky about how you pray, how you obey his command to “rest” with Him; He is picky about you in fact doing it!
Lastly, I beg you to spend some time praying for your pastors, your shepherds: Fr. Bill, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Pope Benedict XVI. Beg God to help them stay close to the heart of Christ, so that we may always remain close to Christ by their faithful care of His Flock. May they always be replenished by God, the Source of all Goodness, so that they may bring His message to us and never run dry.