Reflection for July 22, 2018 (16th Sunday in Ordinary Time) by Louise Lafond

 

Respite. Unless you are just getting back from or are still on your relaxing vacation, we are all probably
in need of respite. What I like about this word is that its origin is in the word ‘respect’ and has come to
mean an adjournment, a break from the ordinary routines and care that you give.

I am usually in a constant state of low level worry: How are my children doing? What about the
environment? How can I get the things done that need to be done and still make a difference? I know
that it is impossible to live without it, as it is a great source of motivation, but there is only so much
worry that we can have. We are comforted by Jeremiah when he talks about the absence of fear for the
future. Fear not, the Lord your God will abide, the flock will be whole again. So, with confidence,
sometimes, in a healthy way we can say: For a moment I will let go of my worry and listen to that
small still space and just breathe.

Paul also wants us to know, yes the conflicts withing our faith community are there and they will
always be there (and he was specifically speaking of those of the early Christian community who were
circumcised and uncircumcised, and I think we have come to a resolution on that topic). We all take up
space, but if we are to truly reconcile and be respectful we must assert ourselves and also take the time
to hear. Relax, we are all one in Christ, if things are not good now, be confident that one day they will
be.

Even Jesus knew the value of respite, and attempted, unsuccessfully, to give it to the disciples. This will
happen to us too: Despite our desire and need for respite we may not be able to and we will have to
carry our worries, conflicts and work longer than we would like, or step up and carry it for others when
they need a break.

So, please, respect yourself and take the time to lay down in green pastures, breathe in the fresh pine
smell in the mountains, read that novel you nave been putting off, or whatever gives you rest. You need
respite, we generally share the burdens we carry and it is because we do not carry them alone, is the
reason we can take a step back and be blessed in those moments too.