Have you ever had the experience when someone has come to you for something and you considered it an intrusion on your time? It should be a consolation for us to know that Jesus too had to cope with interruptions. He too had his plans upset. Our Gospel account today tells us that he was in such demand that he and his apostles barely had time to eat. However, at some point Jesus decided that enough was enough, and took the apostles off to a quiet place for a break.
Jesus was not thinking about himself but about his apostles. They had just returned from a mission on which Jesus had sent them, and they were very successful. It was obvious to Jesus that they were tired and needed to get away for some rest.
However, things didn’t go as planned. The people followed them. How did Jesus respond to what was happening? He didn’t get annoyed or upset, he welcomed them. This tells us a lot about the type of person Jesus was. He was moved with pity for them, that is, with compassion. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd and began to teach them many things. This was something they were not use to as their official teachers had no time for ordinary people. Jesus had time for them and this is why people were attracted to him.
Caring is never easy. Some people are willing to care a little, provided they are in the mood, and it is not an inconvenience to them, upsetting their plans. But to care as Jesus did, when it does upset one’s plans is the real test. Parents do it all the time, especially when they have a sick child.
All of us have the capability of caring. The need for people who truly care is great in our society today because so many consider themselves as being the most important, meeting one’s own needs takes precedence over the needs of others. Neglect is widespread in our society. When we care for others we are living the Gospel as Jesus has shown us how it is to be lived.
Interruption of our plans can bring about good. Such interruptions prevent us from becoming totally preoccupied with ourselves. In reality, selfishness is a kind of prison. Caring for others, which is love in action, sets us free. The late Archbishop Helder Camara once said: “Accept surprises that upset your plans, shatter your dreams, give a completely different turn to your day and – .who knows? – to your life. It’s not chance. Leave God free to weave the pattern of your days.”
— Father Dennis, July 22, 2018