Memorial of St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs
Sometimes, it seems like Jesus asks us to do what is difficult or paradoxical. And sometimes, it seems like Jesus asks us to do what is useless. Today, Jesus asks the apostles to do something useless: “come away by yourselves and rest awhile.” After all the practice at ministry and work they had gotten, you would think that Jesus might want to strike while the iron is hot and hone their skills, or show them how it’s really done, or give them an even bigger assignment. But instead, he says “rest.” Why would you rest when there is work to be done? But this is exactly what Jesus asks the apostles to do–something seemingly useless.
Early on when I was teaching, I realized at one point that I had not left the high school in a solid month (the Jesuits have a residence on-campus). After that, another Jesuit and I resolved once a week to get off campus, and we could talk about work, prayer, or anything else. It turned out to be vital to being able to handle the ups and downs of ministry. When the apostles went away, they went with Jesus, and so got to know him a little better. God doesn’t call drones to do His bidding and work without end, but people to love and grow in holiness. And sometimes this means that we do something that the world calls useless, like taking time to rest and know Jesus.