Mk 6: 30-34


thanks, fr tam nguyen


When I was younger I heard the advice: “Listen to your body.” Of course, I rarely did! However, it is undeniable that our body speaks. It tells us that it is excited and fired up for work. It signals to us when it is joyful, energetic, and inspired. It tells us when it is hungry, sleepy, sick or tired.


It is just remarkable how the Lord Jesus recognized the signals of the body. When his apostles returned from mission, he immediately told them: “Rest a little…” Maybe he observed their bodies and saw how dirty, smelly, exhausted and famished they were. The apostles were serious missionaries and now as they came back, all they needed were some food and a warm bed.


How interesting our bodies truly are. These are not just part of who we are; it’s who we are when people see us! That is why today, we say that we need to love and accept our bodies, in whatever shape, color or condition they come. We need to respect our bodies and seek to keep them healthy. When God sees us his children, he does not see pure souls; he sees us in our bodies. St. Catherine of Siena said: “This is the body that God loves when he looks at me.”


Rest a little… what a timely advice. It is so relevant now that an unseen virus can destroy us in an instant. To take care of our bodies is equivalent to taking care of our loved ones, our dreams and ambitions, our future. When I noticed how a friend of mine was so hard-driven at work, I reminded him to slow down but he would not listen. He stopped though, when he started feeling stressed, depleted and unproductive due to overwork.


St. Josemaria said that rest is not laziness. We need time to relax too, to do things with less effort, to return to our hobbies and creative work, to play, spend time with others, to read and to have what we now call me-time! Of course, Jesus advised taking only a “little” rest, just a little enough to energize and inspire us for the work waiting ahead of us.


Do you listen to your body? Or do you demand so much from yourself that you neglect your need for quiet, rest, and re-creation? Let us pray that we will always remember to take care of our bodies, this temple of the Holy Spirit, so that strengthened and refreshed, we can continue to serve the Lord and others.