I remember a commercial from my childhood: the catch phrase was, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” Somebody would usually have their head in their hands, moaning softly to themselves as the menu was recited, or the extent of the meal revealed. The reply was, “You did, Ralph, you did.” After a lot of complaining came the solution: “Take some Alka Seltzer. “ They did and everything was fine, a lot of times they were looking for something else to eat.
Jesus gathers his disciples together after their mission, and he takes them aside for some well deserved rest. But word gets out where they’re going, and a crowd shows up. They keep coming and coming, and I’m sure Jesus would have been tempted to throw up his hands and tell them to go away. I think I’d be tempted to do that. But He has compassion for them, He knows they have no place else to turn, and He reaches out to them. Through focusing on the here and now, on focusing on what they need, He and His disciples find resources to go on.
A lot of times we get tired, we remember every mile we’ve traveled in a day or a week, and we need our rest from time to time. But dwelling on everything we’re just done, like dwelling on the whole thing we ate, does us no good. We don’t always have the leisure, some things won’t wait, and moaning usually doesn’t help. Well, it feels better to get it out, but that’s about all the good it does.
Christ wants us to live in the here and now. What we’ve done already is fine, but there’s more to do, always more to do. Focusing on the road we’ve already traveled usually only makes us tired, focusing on what’s before us now can give us energy. Here and now is where we are all the time, and here and now is what we should take care of.
Jesus Christ is here and now. Christ is always with us, every moment of every day, shortly He will be here in the Eucharist and soon He will be part of us. He calls us to rest when we need it, gives us refreshment from our burdens. He also gives us strength for now, and helps us look ahead when we only want to look back. I can’t believe what we have here and now in Christ. In some ways, Christ is our Alka Seltzer for the world.