“You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while.”
Jesus said this to his apostles in this Sunday’s Gospel. If you read it carefully, you will realise that he meant it as a commandment, not as advice or recommendation. He did not say “You should” or “You could”, but he said “You must”. This shows how important whatever it was he was telling the apostles to do.
So what was it exactly that Jesus was telling the apostles to do? That they must go to a lonely place and take a break from the hustle and bustle of their lives. By a “lonely place”, Jesus did not mean somewhere lacking joy or happiness, but somewhere lacking noise and distractions; a place where they could be alone with God in their prayers.
Today, this commandment is as relevant as ever, as crucial to follow as ever. We live in world that is increasingly becoming a non-stop, 24/7 society and we live in a place where there is noise everywhere we turn to. Our lives are surrounded by gadgets, TV and radio broadcasts and different voices demanding our attention. Consequently, it has become more difficult to see and hear God. He is drowned out by all our worldly concerns. We become sheep without a shepherd.
When we retreat to a lonely place, we invite God to speak to us. When we leave our noisy world behind, albeit temporarily, we give ourselves the chance to hear God. When we get lost in silence, we find God. We allow our shepherd again to lead us even when we have to go back to the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.
So make it a priority to find your lonely place. It could be the church, the park, or even a corner of your house. Wherever it is, that is where God will always be waiting for you and He will say, “Come and rest a while, my child.”