Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 328

He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. 
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.



Human life changed dramatically with the advent of electricity and the light bulb. At one time the wealthy could afford after-dark entertainments, lit by candles and whale oil. But most people went to bed at sunset. In the temperate zones, they had long wintry nights and brief summer nights; which fit their agrarian way of life. Farmers must work more during the summer; in the winter, as the land slept, they relaxed. 
When I was a boy, television stations would shut down in the evening, around 11pm or midnight. They often aired a picture of the American flag with an orchestral Star-spangled Banner. A test pattern followed for a few seconds, then the signal went dead and the screen turned to static. The TV watcher might as well go to bed; there'd be no broadcasts until morning -- five or six hours later. 
However, marketers discovered some people were willing to forgo sleep to watch their inane commercials, provided they were spliced with old movies and sitcom reruns. Athazagoraphobia -- the fear of being left out -- became the American way of life, somehow included in the Bill of Rights. 
In this Brave New World, ascetics are those who take eight hours of sleep daily, along with three square meals a day, disciplined work, study, conversation and prayer. Extreme ascetics sup with each other, with conversation -- like monks, friars and many religious. They resolutely turn off the televisions during their meals, checking their smart phones only to google uncertain points like when did Genghis Khan conquer Mongolia.
On this particular Saturday, the fourth of ordinary time, we hear Jesus' invitation to "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." Free people accept the invitation; slaves must keep working. 
For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.