Too Busy for Others?

Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, 18th Sunday In Ordinary Time
•Is 55:1-3

•Ps 145:8-9, 15-16, 17-18

•Rom 8:35, 37-39

•Mt 14:13-21

By Marc Massery

Do you make time for other people when they need your help? Or are you frequently too busy when others reach out to you? 

In the Gospel reading this Sunday, after hearing about the death of His cousin John the Baptist, the Lord goes off in a boat “to a deserted place by himself” (Mt 14:13). Jesus was divine, but He was also human. He needed time away from others to grieve and to rest, just as anybody else would need.  

The Gospel continues:

The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick (Mt 14:13-14).

If I were Jesus, I might be annoyed at this crowd of people coming to me with their problems when I was trying to have some time alone. But Jesus is far more loving than any of us could ever be. Jesus was not angry at them when He discovered that they had tracked Him down. He was not anxious to get rid of them, either. In fact, He didn’t consider Himself at all. He accepted them in their neediness, empathized with them, and cured them. But that’s not all. He worked another miracle, multiplying the loaves and the fish to feed everyone. Even being away in a deserted place, He showed them immense hospitality. 

Saint Faustina was much like Jesus in how she cared for strangers. She writes in her Diary:

When the same poor people come to the gate a second time, I treat them with greater gentleness, and I do not let them see that I know they have been here before; [I do this] in order not to embarrass them. And then they speak to me freely about their troubles and needs.

Although Sister N. tells me that is not the way to deal with beggars, and slams the door in their faces, when she is not there, I treat them as my Master would. Sometimes more is given when giving nothing, than when giving much in a rude manner. (1282)

Saint Faustina often worked as the gatekeeper at her convent, where beggars would come asking for food or money. She loved and respected these beggars because she modeled her life on Christ's. So she considered their feelings and needs above her own, even though other sisters disapproved. 

There are those we’ve encountered who are just about always willing to listen to us and make us feel cared for. Then there are those who care far too much about themselves to make time for others. After reflecting on this Sunday’s Gospel and upon how St. Faustina cared for beggars, we ought to take a moment to reflect on how charitable we are to others. Are we only ever focused on ourselves and our own needs? Do we only ever get annoyed when others seek our help? Or do we welcome opportunities to help others in need? 

It goes without saying that we are not divine. We can only do so much for other people. But Jesus calls us to give ourselves away to other people, as much of ourselves as we can. When we give of ourselves to others we receive supernatural assistance from the Lord. If we withhold help when others are in need, we may save a little energy for ourselves, but we’ll miss out on all the graces, all the blessings the Lord wants to give us through the work He calls us to do for His Kingdom. 

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Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash.

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