Holy people want to help everyone in need, and they can find it difficult to say “no.” But there are only 24 hours in a day. Ignatius learned from experience that saying “yes” to everyone leads to exhaustion, and then to burnout, and then to being no good for anyone.

Consequently, Ignatius advised Jesuits to choose those ministries that will enable them to bring the greater number of people closer to God, and then to have the courage to let the other good options go. He also reminded Jesuits to take time for themselves. Both can be hard. But at the end of the day, holy people have to acknowledge that only God is God.

Today’s Gospel makes the same points. Even Jesus could not be in two places at once. Though needy people in Capernaum were still looking for him, he chose to continue to the neighboring towns. But that is why he invites disciples to help him.

—Fr. Barton Geger, SJ, is a research scholar at the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies and Assistant Professor of the Practice at the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College.





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