After Jesus endures many run-ins with the Pharisees, he goes off to a mountain to pray. When day comes, he calls his disciples and from them chooses Twelve, whom he calls Apostles. Next, Jesus and his Apostles descend the mountain to preach to and heal a great crowd.
While it may seem part of his job, Jesus’ dedication to prayer and solitude always strikes me. Often when he is faced with a tough decision or a big event, Jesus seeks communion with God and prays deeply over his next move. I’d do well to follow Jesus’ example. So often work, raising a family, fretting over the budget, and juggling commitments keep me swirling until my head hits the pillow (and sometime long after). I’ll seek solitude and pray tomorrow, I often promise. But most of the time, the whirlwind sweeps me away.
Also striking is who Jesus calls to help him carry out his mission. In choosing the Twelve Apostles from a wide array of disciples, Jesus puts his deepest trust in a group that consists of fishermen, a zealot, Galileans, a Judean, a toll collector, one with a Greek name, and one who goes on to betray him. In many ways this rag-tag bunch gives me hope that I, too, can help Jesus carry out his mission.
As today’s passage ends with Jesus preaching to and healing a great crowd, let’s ask ourselves how we can reach out to those in need around us. Let’s set aside time to pray for a deeper understanding of our calling and our role in building God’s Kingdom.
—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life