DESERTED PLACES (Mark 6:30-34): 19 July 2009 (Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
You knew about deserted places, didn’t you? Small wonder you frequented them in your life. In today’s gospel, you invite your disciples to “come away” to such a place. To rest, you say, but you know better, don’t you? And by now, your disciples probably know better, too.
There’s something about deserted places that opens us up. There’s something about great, open spaces that stretches the heart: a sky full of stars, the open sea, a vast football field, even an empty room. I remember the first time I saw the ocean:The waves frothing around my feet, I stood stunned at the edge of that beach, speechless, awed by the sight of your sea and sky and drawn immediately to spontaneous prayer and praise.
Yesterday afternoon I drove into an empty university campus for my two-week study program. I’ve “been here, done this” before. Yet the familiar, but haunting scene of the deserted campus had an instant effect on me. The empty spaces opened up my own space inside–a space where I haven’t lingered in days given the frenzy of recent activity. The silence summoned a similar silence within, and the solitude about the campus drew me to my own door of solitude–and it was ajar.
Silence and solitude can be a very scary thing. They can be pretty threatening, but those of us who have experienced them before know that these lead us out of the ever-thickening woods of our lives into that clearing where we can see your light. Those of us who’ve seen the clearing also understand that if we wish to catch a glimpse of you, that is where we should go. Even now, it’s these deserted places in our hearts that you frequent still. That’s still where you love to linger.
Lord, help us to seek those open spaces and deserted places in our lives. Grant that we make time for the silence and solitude we need to see you.
How about a Quick Prayer here?