16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 19, 2015 – Year B
Readings: Jer 23:1-6 / Psalm 23 / Eph 2:13-18 / Mk 6:30-34
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Just like the millennials and digital natives among us, who are also called the Y and Z generations, I believe most of us love using social media and all the other products technology can offer. We can read the Bible and other spiritual books on our smart phones. If we need information about anything, anybody, or any event, we can Google it. For almost any skill we need to learn, “there’s an app for that.” We can watch YouTube for step-by-step instructions about anything. Our family and friends in other states or even other countries don’t have to wait days or weeks for letters from us. We can email, text, or contact them on Facebook or Instagram. When I travel, I used to bring with me my Breviary – the clergy prayer book which is really thick and heavy. Now this book is in my cell phone.
But there can always be too much of a good thing. The digital and social media options can take up so much of our time that they limit our personal interactions with our family and friends, and perhaps even lessen the time we spend at prayer. Even when we are resting at home, our mobile devices still notify us that we have an email, text message, or news story on Facebook or Instagram. According to recent studies conducted by the University of Michigan, the very same social media that is helping us can also give us anxiety and stress if there is an overload. In fact there is a name for this anxiety disorder; it is called FOMO. The online version of Oxford dictionary defines FOMO as “an anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may be currently happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts on social media.” FOMO actually means “fear of missing out”.
In our spiritual life, we can also experience anxiety. If we feel overburdened by our responsibilities in doing our church ministries, we can become exhausted. In today’s Gospel, our Lord must have been really happy to hear what His disciples were doing, when they reported all that they had accomplished in proclaiming the Good News. But they had overextended themselves; they were so busy that they had no time to eat. So Jesus told them to come away to a deserted place and rest awhile. They went and rested and recharged their “spiritual batteries” in the company of the Lord. We call this “resting with the Lord” – a holy retreat.
Here in Holy Name of Mary Parish we promote this practice. We have so many things to do in this life that we can forget why we are doing them. It is good to know that retreats, spiritual conferences, Oblates of St. Benedict, Franciscan Third Orders, Holy Spirit prayer groups and Cenacles are becoming more popular these days. When we can no longer remember the last time we were truly at peace, then it is time to do as the Lord tells us in today’s Gospel.
Let us find time to rest with the Lord. This will also give us the strength to face life’s challenges better and with more focus. If we feel that we are losing our energy, I hope and pray that we will not wait until our bodies force us to rest in the hospital. All we need to do is cry out to God. All of us need God’s help.
It is wonderful that we are here in the sanctuary of Holy Name of Mary at the beginning of this day and week. Our Lord Jesus is present everywhere. He is not only with us, He is within us because each of us is a temple of the Lord. Here in the Holy Eucharist, He is not only spiritually present, but also sacramentally, substantially, physically present – His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. And He is saying to each of us, “Come to Me, you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will give you rest.”