Wednesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus’ behavior in today’s gospel is genuinely baffling to the apostles. Even with the benefit of hindsight, what He does can seem odd. In the city where He is, Simon’s mother-in-law is devoted to serving Him, many other people are amazed by His actions, and He is constantly doing good in the town—healing people, driving out demons, and performing other miracles. The next day, He moves on to other towns. Between these two events, he goes out “to a deserted place” where there are no people. Nothing else is mentioned beyond the fact that He was there. As far as we know, Jesus doesn’t actually do anything.
Particularly to an American mind, valuing work and efficiency, Jesus’ going out into the desert can sound odd. Things are going well, Jesus is doing exactly what He is supposed to be doing, and then He stops. No mention is made of a planning session or anything along those lines. From an external point of view, what Jesus did was useless. But Pope Benedict reminds us in Jesus of Nazareth that these scenes removal and prayer are vital in Luke’s gospel; they are featured any time a major decision is made, and serve as a reminder of Jesus’ Sonship. He goes to the Father, is receptive to the Father’s will, and then goes to do it. Are we willing to stop acting for a time so that we can receive? Are we able to focus on our sonships and daughterships of God just as Jesus focused on His own Sonship?