REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 7, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all. Lk. 6:17-19
After Jesus had spent the night in prayer, and then called the twelve to be his disciples, he came down the mountain on a stretch of level ground and taught the great crowd as well as healed the sick. Even with the scorching sun, the crowd were still eager to gather to hear the travelling rabbi preach. Ignoring hunger and exhaustion, the crowd listened intently to the gentle yet powerful voice of Jesus.
If you imagine yourself in the crowd surrounding Jesus, what would you see? what would you hear, smell, and feel? How would you react in seeing Jesus come down from the mountain to the level ground? What was it that drew the crowd to Jesus? They may have come to “hear” Jesus preach and “to be healed.”
The crowd wanted to hear the words of Jesus since He spoke with great authority and in a way that was changing lives. And they were especially amazed by the healing power that He manifested. The last line from our gospel reference today gives great emphasis to this desire for healing. “Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.”
It’s interesting that Jesus performed so many powerful miracles as He went about His public ministry. This was especially the case as He began His ministry. He became a sort of instant celebrity to many and was the talk of the many surrounding towns. But it’s also interesting to note that, as time went on, Jesus gave more emphasis to His teaching than He did to the miracles.
What is it that draws you to our Lord? Perhaps if there were numerous manifest miracles performed today by God, many people would be amazed. But physical miracles are not the greatest work of our Lord and, therefore, should not be the primary focus of our relationship with Him. The primary reason we should be drawn to our Lord is because His holy Word sinks in deeply, changes us and draws us into communion with Him. This is clearly seen by the fact that now that the Gospel message has been deeply established and the Church formed, physical miracles are rare. They do happen, but not in the same way that they did as Jesus first established His public ministry.
Reflect, today, upon the primary reason you find yourself drawn to our Lord. Seek out His living Word, spoken within the depths of your heart. The most important miracle that takes place today is that of interior transformation. When a person hears God speak, responds to that Word, and allows Him to change their life, this is among the most important miracles of grace that we could ever encounter. And this is the central reason we should be drawn to Him, seek Him out and follow Him wherever He leads.
Lord, please draw me to Yourself, teaching in the wilderness of my interior life of silence and solitude. Help me to seek You out so that I can hear Your Word, spoken to me to give me new life. May I always listen to You so that Your holy Word will transform me more fully, making me into the new creation You desire me to be. Jesus, I trust in You.