We read in the Acts of the Apostles that Jesus’ apostles have become very active. They who, not long ago, were cowering with fear, seem now fearless as they give witness “in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” We also give witness to Jesus in our respective vocations, to our own “end of the earth.” It’s worthwhile remembering how Jesus went about giving witness and doing ministry.[i] He was very active, clearly; he counterbalanced his activity by regularly making retreats, the very thing you, our guests, are doing here with us.
In Jesus’ ministry, the multitudes are desperate to hear Jesus and to experience his help and healing. The crowds’ expectations only grow. And what does Jesus do? It’s quite revealing. He withdraws quite regularly. Jesus would minister mightily, and then the Gospels say he would withdraw to deserted places. Note the plural – deserted places – and he would pray.[ii] The cry is not the call. The cry for help is not one-in-the-same with our call to respond. It certainly was not for Jesus. There was always more to do. Jesus shows his truly-human side, without infinite resources, and he practices a kind of “life rhythm” clearly knowing when he must withdraw to rest and pray.