Early in the morning, he leaves, goes to a deserted place, and prays. Did Jesus go and pray to discern what his Father was asking of him? Did he go to think about what his next step in his mission was to be? Did Jesus simply need to talk over the day with the one who sent him, to share his feelings about all those who came to him seeking an encounter or healing? Maybe all of these were part of his prayer. What is important to note is that it was after he had drawn aside in the solitude of a deserted place that Jesus emerged with an awareness of his purpose: to preach throughout all of Galilee. Jesus’s purpose was to preach the Good News. Jesus, the Son of God, needed to take time apart to become centered and to discover or rediscover what his mission was. If he needed to spend time alone in prayer and discernment, how much more are we dependent on solitude and prayerful conversation with God to find our center and to discern our direction, our purpose?
I imagine there is not one of us who cannot imagine how Jesus felt when he was told: “Everyone is looking for you.” Sometimes we just want to cry out: “Come back later, or tomorrow or next week.” It’s a very human reaction to the recurring demands made on our time, energy, and gifts. Jesus drew his strength from his personal, intimate relationship with the Father. The only truly fruitful and successful source of strength for us to draw from is our relationship with God. Uniting ourselves with the compassionate, healing God that Jesus revealed himself to be will give us the strength we need to pour ourselves out as we spread the Good News. Jesus needed to pull aside to a quiet place. How could we expect to deepen our relationship with God, to discern how Jesus wants us to share in his mission, without doing the same?
Take your next step: Consider what in your life needs to be healed. Spend time in prayer asking God to provide that gift of healing for you so you might better share the Good News with others.