“The whole town was gathered at the door.” What would this look like if it happened at your house? “After sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.” What would you think about this? What would your friends think about this? What would you do?
Jesus responded by curing many and driving out demons. If we had that ability, maybe we would do this too. But then, Jesus does something we probably would not do – he leaves and goes far away from all the people clamoring for his help, celebrating him, undoubtedly wanting more from him.
He goes away to pray. He leaves the crowd so that he can be alone with his Father.
This is a recurring pattern in the Gospel, so it must have happened often. Jesus, who alone is the Holy One, who alone is the Lord, who alone is the Son of God, goes to be alone with his Father. In his singular power and steadfastness, in his spiritual perfection, in his emotional and psychological integrity, he is utterly independent of every inordinate human influence. He is focused on the Mission from his Father, and neither the criticism of others nor their adulation can move him unless it is the will of the Father. And so, he returns to communion with the Father repeatedly, even when he must get up very early or stay up very late to do so.
His friends go looking for him (in another passage, they seem to think he is losing his mind because they cannot understand his actions). When they tell him “everyone is looking for you,” he responds that he needs to keep moving, to preach in other places, so that others can experience the Good News. Was this the message he received from the Father in prayer? It seems so, by his words, “For this purpose have I come.”
And then he preaches and heals throughout all of Galilee, to fulfill the Mission given to him by the Father.
When we remain firmly in the Truth of our own mission, we too can be less disrupted by the criticism or adulation or advice of others. We all have a mission, we all have tasks put before us by the Father. How do we know what they are? They are usually revealed in the duties, interruptions, and inspirations of the moment: our family, our parish, our job, those in need before us. It is only when we spend quiet time with the Lord, as Jesus did, that our purpose can become clearer to us, and we can fulfill our mission with courage and confidence. Otherwise, we can be like snowflakes in the wind, being blown in every direction by influences that are not holy.
In 2022, let’s resolve to imitate Christ by spending more time in solitary prayer, receiving our mission and the grace to fulfill it from the Father Who loves us.
Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and four grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is www.KathrynTherese.com
Feature Image Credit: JacksonDavid, https://pixabay.com/photos/hands-hand-together-prayer-5216585/