In today’s Gospel, we hear of a “large number of people” who came to “hear Jesus and be healed of their diseases.” We can see that it is the people’s desire for healing that first draws them to Jesus. With that, today’s Gospel can be seen as an invitation to all of us to recall what first drew us to Jesus. In the case of the twelve Apostles, it was the explicit calling of their names by Jesus. In the case of other disciples, it was their desire for healing.

Each Christian will have a personal story of what first drew him or her to Jesus. Perhaps it was an encounter with Scripture. Perhaps it was seeing the faith of a friend or family member. Perhaps it was even the witnessing of a miracle. Whatever the case may be, today’s Gospel invites us to recall what first drew us to Jesus, and to thank him for it.

—Tom Elitz, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Maryland Province currently studying philosophy at Fordham University.