If you may have remembered, three Sundays ago, we heard Jesus inviting the disciples of John the Baptist to ‘come and see’ where he lives. Then on the following Sunday, we heard him again as he was walking along the sea of Galilee. This time he was inviting certain fishermen to follow him. And we heard the story, they left everything behind (their nets and even their father) and followed him. The disciples followed Jesus and they saw how Jesus observed the Sabbath day. Last Sunday, the gospel tells us that He went to the Synagogue and there he cured the man possessed by an unclean spirit, in the presence of everyone. Today’s gospel is sort of a continuation of how Jesus spent his day. After the synagogue, he went out with his newly-made friends and even cured the illness of one of his friends’ mother-in-law. Then he attended to the crowds who came to him with all their sick and possessed and he cured ‘many.’ Then later on, early the next morning, he left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there.’
This must have been the typical day for him. He’s got time for his friends. He’s got time for the people coming to him. But most importantly he’s got time for himself and for his God. In a way, he knows his priorities and he knows how to balance things out. This is for me, the secret ‘ingredient’ that made Jesus so popular for many (poor and needy) in his time and even for us now.
As followers of him, we also ought to imitate the life of Christ as one classical author –Thomas a Kempis said. This doesn’t mean imitating him in his miracles or in his way of preaching but following him in how he keeps grounded on being with his friends, with the people and with his Father all at the same time.
And thus, because of his firm priorities, He transcends any cultural barrier or standard of ritual purity prevalent in his time and culture. He cured in the Sabbath, which is an ‘illegal’ act to the authorities in the synagogue. He ‘touched’ the sick mother-in-law of Simon Peter and cured her from fever. He allowed her to ‘wait’ on them which is not acceptable in his time. The gesture of Jesus was repugnant for the Jewish authorities for they had a strict rule of ritual purity at the time which allowed ‘no adult woman’ to ‘serve a man at table.’
He maintains his personal relationship with his Father in everything he did or said. When he preached he always notes that ‘He is just doing the will of his Father.’ When he cured or did miracles he would make people realize that the kingdom of his Father is a Kingdom of ‘wholeness and holiness, of perfection and eternal happiness.’ This is the secret of his success if we like to call it that way.
Like Jesus we are to make our priorities right. For Him, doing the will of his Father is the main motive of everything he does and says. It is important to remember always that God has willed each and everyone of us to live our lives to the full in the light of his love and care. We can only realize and accept this truth this if we give time for ourselves. We can only see this if we keep our communication with God open. For it is only in the silence of our hearts that we can hear God speaking to us and guiding us in what we are to do in our lives.
However, in our world wherein ‘getting busy or acting like busy body’ is the ‘seemingly’ motive in doing things, keeping time with God is a tough call. It is difficult to stay still and ponder on how God works in us now because we are in the world wherein ‘rushing’ is the name of the game. The consoling thing is that despite our busy times, we still have time to spend with our friends and relatives and with some people around us. Yet at the end of the day, if we don’t go back to God, if we don’t sit down before Him, if we would listen to ourselves, if we wouldn’t confront our own selves, we would eventually lose the meaning of our life. No wonder, we heard in the News, people who are seemingly well-off, with good circle of friends, rich and famous, who have taken their own lives. This can happen if we are just caught up with what we are doing, and not in who we are representing to. We are called by God to be Christ for others. If we neglect this noble Christian and human responsibility we would eventually end up being alone in the midst of the crowd or being impoverished in the midst of plenty.
It is by giving time for ourselves and by bringing our troubles, problems, and concerns to God that we would come to realize that things are not really that bad as they appear to be. If we look at what we have become now, we will realize that sufferings are just really part of our life, but sufferings are not forever. Unlike Job, in our First Reading today, we would come to realize that there is hope amidst all these troubles we are facing, that we can still see and experience happiness here and now despite the sorrows and sadness we may feel at times. St Paul in our Second Reading today also offers us a consolation. For Him God is not a dominant figure telling you what to do and what not. But for Him God is the Good News to be preached, the Good News that He loves and cares all of us now despite our weaknesses and limitations.
So as we continue our reflection for the Day, let’s ask ourselves: Am I living a balanced life?
Do I spend quality time with myself and God just as I spent good times with my friends?