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Running From Silence (5th Sunday of OT)

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A few years ago, I stumbled across an article entitled "The World's Quietest Room." It was one of those moments where my curiosity got the best of me. So I decided to read the article, and after finishing, I couldn't help but to do some more research on this room located in Minnesota. It is said that no one has ever lasted more than 45 minutes in this room. Your typical "quiet" room is about 30 decibels, while this room is -9 decibels. There is literally no other sound in the room other than your own body. This is creepy enough for people to want to leave the room. Studies have shown though that the reason people cannot stand being in there for more than a few minutes is the deafening silence. People literally came out of the room telling others that it is too quiet in there for them.

Today we celebrate the 5th Sunday of Ordinary time, which just so happens to correspond to World Marriage Day. What you find in today's Gospel is that Jesus is moving around A LOT. There are quite a few action verbs in this particular Gospel. But if you pay close attention to this year's Gospel readings, Jesus moves around substantially more in Mark's Gospel than any other Gospel. He seems to always be doing something. Just in 10 verses He cures people, He exercises demons, He preaches, and He moves around the town quite substantially. But what does He do after the day is over? It says that He goes off to a deserted place in order to pray. He needs to be refreshed before doing other activity. And of course His disciples along with everyone from town are wondering what He is doing. "Everyone is looking for you," says Simon.

I think that this Gospel can strike at the heartstrings of many of us. Our worlds seem to just move around so quickly. Our world is filled with distractions. Our schedules are filled with activities. And there always seems to be someone in our lives that comes up to us when we seem to have a moment of rest that wants something. On this World Marriage Sunday, the world honors the many couples around the world that have been great witnesses to the vocation of marriage. But I'm sure anyone who is married will tell us that it is not always easy. Love is a constant choice that we make. It is willing the good of the other. This seems to get increasingly more difficult the busier that we become. But Jesus teaches us a profound lesson in the Gospel today. He became worn down by the daily activities of being the Christ; however, He knew the secret to renewal... to becoming refreshed. He went off to a deserted place to pray.

Prayer is so simple, but so many of us make it more complicated than it is because we are not used to slowing down. We want to make God come to us on our own terms, but God wants us to come to Him. Wouldn't it be so much easier if God sent us a text message, Email, or Facebook message? But God doesn't do that. You don't need those things to communicate with God. God is found and communicates in the silence. Jesus teaches us this.

When you undoubtedly find yourself tired out by the busyness of your daily activities, there is a place of refreshment not too far away. In the refreshment of prayer, we find a place to sort through things. We get a chance to ponder. With a world full of distractions, it is sometimes difficult for us to slow down. Even when we slow down, we like to be "doing" something. But when there is truly silence, for many of us, it is like turning on a light after a long night sleep in a dark room. It is sometimes painful, but eventually we can adjust. Today, we are invited to converse and find refreshment with our God in prayer. May we use the example of Jesus so that we may continue on refreshed just as He did.