REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 24, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” Lk. 9:18
Jesus asked the disciples “Who do the crowds say that I am?” Before this question our gospel reference noted that Jesus was both “praying in solitude” and “the disciples were with him.” There is an apparent contradiction in stating that Jesus was alone while his disciples were with him. This apparent contradiction can only be understood in the sense that while the disciples were with Him, Jesus was alone with the Father in the sense that only Jesus knew the Father fully and intimately. This is an incomprehensible secret because He is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Eternal Son of the Father.
With that fact clearly understood, it’s also important to understand that as Jesus prayed to the Father within His human nature, something new took place. Though Jesus was eternally with the Father, His human nature was not eternally with the Father. Therefore, as the Eternal Son of God communed with the Eternal Father while living in human flesh, human nature was suddenly elevated to a height that it had never been before. Not only was the Eternal Son living in perfect union with the Father, but now the Eternal Son, fully human, brought His human nature into this oneness.
Though this may seem a bit philosophical to some, it points to a very important reality that affects us all. Through Jesus’ human prayer to the Father, we are all invited to join with Jesus and share in this divine oneness. The Son of God, as a human being, made it possible for us as humans to share in the elevation of our very lives to oneness with God the Father. And though the Son of God will always retain a unique union with the Father, we are, nonetheless, by participation, invited to share in their life.
Understanding this union is important because there is no greater human fulfillment, we could ever achieve than to share in the prayer of the Son to the Father. Throughout our lives, we are constantly looking for fulfillment in one form or another. We want to be happy. We want enjoyment in life. We have a natural desire for happiness that we are constantly seeking to fulfill. What is important to understand that the greatest happiness comes by sharing in the deep human prayer of the Son to the Father. Prayer, true prayer, is the answer to our deepest desire.
When Jesus asked his disciples who they say He was, He was not just challenging them to know but inviting them to a deep relationship with him. He wanted them to learn to open their hearts to God in prayer and receive the life and love of God.
Reflect, today, upon whether you regularly engage in deep prayer. Can you point to times when you, like Jesus, were alone with God, communing with Him in the depths of your human soul, being drawn to Him through prayer? There are many levels of prayer. Make the choice to deepen your prayer. Go before our Lord today and pour out your heart to Him, asking Him to draw you into the holy solitude.
Lord, as You spent time alone with the Father, You united Your human nature with Him, thus elevating our nature to a glorious degree. Please draw me to You, dear Lord, so that I may know You and the Father through true, deep and sustaining prayer. May this oneness with You be the cause of my deepest fulfillment in life. Jesus, I trust in You.