For Sunday, July 19, 2015, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
At a time when you would think a lot of Americans are heading for the beach or the campground for vacation, more of us may actually be staying home.
A survey last January found an astonishing forty-two percent of workers didn’t take a single vacation day in 2014.
“Women took fewer vacation days than men; young Americans are skimping on vacation days; suburbia is taking slightly more vacation days than rest of the country; workers in the U.S. South took least vacation days while those in the U.S. West did most; and the poor are bearing the brunt of least amount of vacation days in the country.”
It can be hard—and, of course, expensive—to take time from work. And the demands of a lot of jobs make finding time for vacation sometimes impossible. That’s not new. As this Sunday’s Gospel reminds us, even Jesus had difficulty taking a break. Setting out for a “deserted place” for rest, he couldn’t escape his work. Moved by the needs of those who sought him out—appearing to him “like sheep without a shepherd”—he couldn’t help but continue to minister to them.
The thought of an overworked Jesus still seeking to serve, teach, and heal those around him is both confounding and consoling. On the one hand, it would be nice to think that even the Son of God could catch a breather every now and then. But on the other hand, we realize that the One who is so much like us—”in all things but sin”—is also continually close to us. He does not, cannot, turn his back on us in our need. Emmanuel, God with us, continues to remain with us—even when he faces the very real and very human need to get away.
Whether we find ourselves able to go on vacation or not this season, we can take some solace in this simple but consoling truth:
Christ is always near us—available, accessible, attentive. No matter what, the Messiah doesn’t go on vacation.
Dcn. Greg Kandra
O almighty and merciful God,
Who hast commissioned Thy angels to guide and protect us,
command them to be our assiduous companions
from our setting out until our return;
to clothe us with their invisible protection;
to keep us from all danger of collision,
of fire, of explosion, of falls and bruises;
and finally, having preserved us from all evil,
and especially from sin,
to guide us to our heavenly home.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
—Prayer for Travelers attributed to Bishop Felix Dupanloup, 1802–1878.