Quiet Moments
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

How many of us long for quiet moments? A busy mother enjoys a bit of quiet when the children have left for school and she has some time for herself. A teenager seeks refuge in her own room. A working father’s quiet moment may be napping on the sofa on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I know some people who drop by the Eucharistic chapel daily and spend some quiet time before the Blessed Sacrament.

Action starter: Check your schedule. Do you have time to pray?

Jesus Himself saw a need to rest and to have some distance from His everyday preoccupation, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while. (Mk. 6:31)” Such moments were spent by Jesus communing with the Father. They were moments of prayer.

Even such times were apt to be interrupted. In the case of Jesus as related by this Sunday’s Gospel, the people pursued Him and the apostles. The people learned where they were going and “arrived at the place before them.” Instead of getting irritated, Jesus’ “heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Although Jesus longed to rest, He ministered to the crowd. Now we understand why Jesus would schedule His prayer time at dawn or late at night. He could only have some quiet moment when people were sleeping . There is a constant tension between spending time for yourself and spending time for others.

Ministers and caregivers have experienced this many times When the day is over and one is watching an enjoyable television program or preparing oneself for bed, that is the time a call comes in, “Doc, you are needed at the hospital,” “Father, sick call.” “Mother, I am sick.” We know what we do when these calls come. We attend to these emergencies. Perhaps, during these moments a very fitting prayer to say as we compose ourselves is the responsorial psalm, “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that gives me courage (Ps. 23).”

I try to piece together what may have been happening in the mind of a student of mine two years ago when he heard the call, “Father Cha, the river is flooded, the people are in danger.” As a good shepherd, he did not hesitate. He organized rescue efforts and managed to evacuate people living near the river. He himself did not survive. The flash flood that carried logs and debris caught him and carried him away. His body was found the next day. He was brought home and was given a hero’s burial in our hometown.

Yes, we may long for quiet moments and moments of rest If we plan our day’s routine well, we can always put in some moments for reflection and prayer. We have to be open though for interruptions. These frantic and disturbing moments may become the shining moments of our life.

The quiet times prepare us for the times of shepherding.