Sunday, July 6, 2014


   Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time   A  

Wednesday afternoon,
I took my eight-year-old nephew camping.
(I somehow thought it would be a good way to recuperate
after all the hoopla of Foundation Day for St. André’s…)
Nathan loves the outdoors,
and I knew he’d enjoy heading out
on a “big adventure” with his Uncle Joe.
We reached our lean-to with just a couple of blisters,
but countless bug bites.
After a campfire and a couple of card games,
we were more than ready for bed:
Nathan—with loaded backpack—
had hiked about three miles that afternoon on his short legs;
I had already clocked about eleven miles the day before,
between the “pilgrim walk” down from Chasm Falls
and the Eucharistic procession through the village.
We were both pretty tired!
Yet while Nathan was out
almost as soon as he crawled into his sleeping bag,
I just laid there half-awake most of the night.
For one thing, I kept getting kicked;
I could have been lying on the other side of the pond
and that kid would have still found a way
to squirm right up near me.
But I was also very conscious of my responsibility
to take care of my nephew and get him back home safely.
Nathan was able to sleep because he knew,
even if wild critters or thunderstorm should approach,
there was somebody he could trust looking out for him.

What’s true in childhood remains true throughout life:
we can only really and truly rest
when we believe that we’ll be taken care of.

Fr. Justin was quite amused the other day
when we went into a local shop
and there was sign sitting next to the register:

“In God We Trust” is the official motto of this country:
is shows up on all our currency,
and it taken from our national anthem
(found in the fourth verse—one we never sing).
But we Americans remain rather restless, don’t we?
Even with the high rate of unemployment that plagues the land,
we’re a nation of workaholics.
We don’t seem to know how to rest.
Whether it’s the weekend, a holiday, or vacation
(assuming that our jobs allow for any or all of these),
we often work just as hard as at our paid occupation,
but on other things:
yard work, housework, sports, and the like.
When we take time off to travel,
we frequently return home more tired than when we left.
We don’t rest well.

Despite our national motto,
could it be because we lack for trust?
Could it be that, deep down, we believe
that everything depends on us and our own efforts?
That our confidence lies
more in mortal, human flesh and what it can achieve
than it does in the Spirit of God?

Come to me, Jesus says, 
all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.

Now, that’s not to say God’s looking for us to be lazy—far from it!
But our heavenly Father wants his children,
whether at work or at play, 
to experience the joy and peace which can only come
from truly believing in his all-encompassing care.

The recently canonized Pope St. John XXIII embodied this well.
After a hard day, his final prayer would always be,
“It’s your Church, Lord.  I’m going to bed.”
That’s faith! 
And it’s the recipe for a good night’s sleep.

Let’s make it more than a mere motto.
Put your complete trust in God…
…then get some real rest.


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