Today’s Gospel highlights an important aspect, indeed crucial aspect of our faith; our need to communicate with God.
The Gospel reading highlights the importance of setting aside a place, a time, for prayer. Throughout the all of the Gospels we see Jesus taking time from His ministry, His daily activity, to go apart and communicate with His Father. He found a special place to pray – away from the daily grind. He teaches us that it is very important to find the time for our personal relationship with the Father. He shows that, if possible, it is important to set aside a special place to do this in. Our daily routine has a way to make what we do mundane & ordinary; and prayer is anything but that. We need a place and time to recharge ourselves with God; a place to reflect, catch our breath so to speak, and listen to the quiet urgings of His Holy Spirit.” Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” It is crucial for our own personal journey to follow Christ’s lead in this type of prayer. It is imperative that we push aside the technological white noise that keeps us from listening to what is important – to allow ourselves the chance for meditation and contemplation. If we don’t – we run the very great risk of having our faith become a cultural affectation instead of a life-direction.
What is learned about personal prayer in this Gospel pertains as well to the Holy Mass, which is, after all, the ultimate prayer. The Gospel relates to us what happens right after the apostles came back from being sent out in twos to the villages. “The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.” They come together as one to report to their leader, and each other, how they ministered to the people and how they witnessed to God’s proclamation of the Kingdom. From Christ they find that they need to come together in a special place, set aside, away from the hustle and bustle of their times. In this way they can recharge themselves, as a group, and then go out again to minister to the world. As with private prayer, our need for uniqueness in the corporate prayer of the Holy Mass is important. That is why Holy Mother Church takes great care in making the churches, where is celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the most special action in all humanity, the action where heaven and earth join together with Christ in His sacrifice to His and our Father, not ordinary but special. She takes us from the normal and sets us within the extraordinary, the sacred – so that we can center ourselves toward God and be in communion with the one who loves us, and each other. Taken away from the normal, we are more attentive to God’s message, and His healing – we are focused on the Truth. And then, as with the apostles, we can go back into the ‘normal’ strengthened and energized to do the same to those we meet – to be the herald of the message – to lead those who don’t know to knowledge- instilling in them the desire to come and see. “People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.” the Gospel tells us. Those we meet will see by our actions what Christ’s message is all about and they we see us leave for that special place, that special time that is set aside and they will follow – but only, only if we have allowed ourselves that same luxury of time with God that deepens our knowledge and love of He who is knowledge and Love.