Loving your neighbor when life is busy and tiring
A Reflection for Saturday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
Find today’s readings here.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.” (Hebrews 13:16)
Our youngest is going to turn 2 soon, and he still wakes up in the middle of the night. It’s not every night, but it’s often. Sometimes it seems like he just wants to run some laps in his crib. I don’t know why. I’ve started to think of him as eccentric.
My wife and I try to balance our lives between working, parenting, spending time with friends and family, church activities, and volunteering. We also want to be somewhat present for our neighbors.
Oh yeah, and prayer. I try to fit that in during the quiet times early in the morning, or last thing at night. So inevitably, God gets me at my sleepiest.
It’s a lot, but it used to be more. I’ve actually decommitted myself from a number of things. But it’s like when I clear out my old clothes. Regardless of how many I donate, I always seem to keep stuff I could do without.
A vacation would be so nice. Or a retreat. It must have felt so soothing to hear Jesus say, “Come away…and rest a while.”
I can only imagine how the tired disciples must have reacted to the miracle: “Lord, this is amazing—but these baskets are so heavy!”
That’s what I first thought when I read that line in today’s Gospel. But sure enough, the “rest” is short-lived. These verses in the Gospel of Mark are followed by the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. I can only imagine how the tired disciples must have reacted to the miracle: “Lord, this is amazing—but these baskets are so heavy!”
Lord, life can feel so heavy. My day goes sideways, and I’m behind on everything—and I don’t sleep enough. And then my kid needs help with homework. Or has to go to the doctor. Or my spouse needs to vent. Or my neighbor’s car battery is dead. Or my mother is sick and needs some soup. Frankly, part of me doesn’t want to help them. But part of me—the part that reflects the image of God a little more clearly—really does want to help.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.” Some days I feel like I have nothing left to give. And sometimes, someone in need comes along. I don’t always rise to the occasion. But now and then, by God’s grace, I do make myself present to that person. And the thing is, however tired or spent I may feel, I never regret sharing what I have.