Gospel Mk 6:30-34
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest”
Spending time in silent reflection is an increasingly difficult thing to do. The relentless distractions of the world around us, not to mention our own habits of media consumption, really can disrupt any attempt to retreat into some peace and quiet.
Sometimes however, when we are successful in finding that quiet time, we find such silence uncomfortable. In such moments our thoughts can overwhelm us, or the silence allows something in our conscience to awaken. In these moments the temptation to escape from silence by checking our emails or our facebook on the phone, or by reading a book, or anything can be crushing.
In today’s Gospel we read of a story where Jesus, recognising the need for silence and recreation, invited his apostles to rest with him. What happens next when that silence is encroached upon is telling.
Jesus is moved with compassion and begins to teach them because ‘they were like sheep without a shepherd.’
Silence is an absolute necessity for us all if we wish to live examined and properly fruitful lives, and Jesus encourages us to seek this out, both by word and example. And yet, today’s Gospel teaches us an important lesson about silence – namely that it is at the service of communion. For Jesus silence is tremendously important as witnessed in the many examples he provides where he steals away to spend time not only in silence, but in prayer.
We should remember this – that silent time is not something selfish, but in fact what enables us to be an authentic gift of self.
When was the last time I was able to spend time in silent contemplation and prayer?
Am I able to get away, to disconnect, and simply ‘be’? What is holding me back?
What can I do to build in periods of silence into my day and my week?