25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus doesn’t want the people to know that he is travelling through Galilee. He is teaching his disciples, both Jesus and his disciples have stepped outside the busy world to spend time together. This happens often in the Gospels. Jesus is teaching about the necessity of his suffering and death but the disciples do not yet understand.
This private time Jesus and his disciples spend together is so important. The divine love revealed by Jesus is not simply a teaching of our faith, or a theory we accept. The joy at the heart of our faith is that Jesus loves each one of us. He loves you, he loves me. I know that there is one person, Jesus, who loves me utterly and completely, who will do anything for me and for my sake, there is no other human person in the world who is more important to him. I am loved, as I am, by Jesus, as are you. A love which is utterly faithful, utterly sure, and never ending. The goal of all my hopes, all my needs, everything I desire is in this love. I am, each one of us is, in Jesus’ eyes, in Jesus’ heart, absolutely and utterly special, unique and loved.
This love has to be revealed to us slowly. We must learn to understand this love, to recognise what it means for us individually. And this learning, this growing in understanding, in appreciation, in gratitude, in wonder, in short our growing in love with Jesus, can only take place in prayer. In spending time, like the disciples, out of the world, and listening to Jesus, getting to know him, asking him questions, looking at him.
Private prayer is vital. Even just ten minutes a day. Come to private prayer with the attitude of a child. Come with a thirst to learn, a readiness to listen, a great trust in the love of God. Come to him as a child runs to his mum when he falls and hurts himself, as a child expects his mum to feed him when he is hungry. Even as a child – speak to Jesus. Tell him it’s not fair, tell him you are sad, ask him for what you want, tell him your worries and fears, not like a psychologist or a doctor or a judge but like a child. Tell him jokes, complain about those who have hurt you, tell him the good things that have happened to you. Above all be yourself. It is you he loves, you he wants to hear, you he wants to love him.
Make time to speak privately with the one who loves you so much, learn from him and grow in knowledge of just how much he loves you. And find yourself growing in love for him.