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Gospel Reflection for 16th Sunday Ordinary Time, Year B, July 22nd 2018
I was thinking some years ago of where I might make the final year of my Jesuit training. I thought I might head for USA and the Provincial just said, ‘why not go east’. Quite an unexpected outcome to my visit! But it was the best decision we ever made as my few months in India changed me significantly and student volunteer visits later became a big part of my life.
Many times in our lives the unexpected happens, and while, especially at first, we might be upset or annoyed – we can always get something good from it. This happened in today’s gospel. They all went off with Jesus for some quiet time to chill out. They were probably enjoying a chat, and some instruction from their Master, and then the crowds appeared. Jesus’ heart was touched and he began to teach the crowds. In the subsequent verses we learn that the apostles’ quiet day out with the Lord ended up with them serving food to the huge crowd.
The experience would teach them the need to combine time out and time for others and be open to unexpected demands. Many a parent knows how plans are changed often by illness in the family, a request for another lift somewhere, or by the sudden joy as the little one unexpectedly takes the first few steps.
Jesus is open to the unexpected or the unusual. In everything there is a grace on offer.
Lord, help us be open to the surprise of the unexpected
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is the Editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger Magazine