January 14, 2015
Wednesday of week 1 in Ordinary Time
Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist
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Jesus Heals Through Truth
“Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
When Jesus was healing “all who were ill or possessed by demons,” the “whole town was gathered at the door.” When he died on the cross, he was practically alone: “all the disciples deserted him and fled” (Matthew 26:56).
In today’s Gospel, after healing until late at night, Jesus “rose very early before dawn, left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” His disciples found him and called him back: “Everyone is looking for you.”
But healing the body is not what Jesus came for. He answered, “Let’s get out of here.” “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”
Jesus came to preach and teach. He healed the sick out of compassion and to give a sign of the spiritual healing he was offering through his words. But he was not a “feel good” Savior. The devil’s first effort to deflect him from his mission was the temptation to feed the hungry: “The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’” Jesus answered, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:3). He came to speak words of truth, to give life through light: “In him was life, and the life was the light of all people” (John 1:4).
“I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice… Whoever is from God hears the words of God… The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 8:47; 18:37; 6:63).
So we have we have a choice to make: Why do we come to Jesus?
We have to let our actions answer that question. How do we interact with Jesus? What do we go to him for? Ask him for?
When do we interact with him? Where? Why? How?
All of these are important questions. They tell us what our real relationship is with Jesus.
Our relationships are determined by our interactions. They have the same dimensions of breadth or restrictedness, length or limitation, height or this-worldliness, depth or superficiality. Saint Paul prayed that, in our interaction with Jesus, at least, we might “have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18).
So we don’t know how we are relating to Jesus until we ask how often we interact with him and how deeply; when and where, under what circumstances, in what areas and activities of our life, in what ways, with what expectations, hopes or desires. Do we want to hear everything he says? Receive everything he offers? Give everything he asks? Or do we want to keep him at a distance, afraid of what real intimacy with him might entail?
These are important questions. They tell us who Jesus is for us—in reality and not in fantasy. And to answer them, what might help us the most is to start reading the Gospels.
We can read them as if we were there, asking what our reaction would have been to what we heard and saw. What is our reaction now? What does it tell us about our acceptance of Jesus?
Every friendship has a beginning. If we begin to interact with Jesus, he will lead us—gradually—into the “breadth and length and height and depth,” so that we might “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, and be filled with all the fullness of God.”
“I came into the world, to testify to the truth… The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
Do I choose to interact deeply with Jesus?
Pray: “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
Practice: Take a first step. Put a Bible on your pillow. Never go to sleep without reading one line.
Discuss: When and where do you interact with Jesus? Describe your interaction.