On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, "Everyone is looking for you." He told them, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, "Everyone is looking for you". He told them, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”
This is the verse that stood out to us after we read and thought about the Gospel reading for today. How does this verse pertain to us and our lives?
My husband said he thought that maybe the people were wanting Jesus to stay in their village, as in, they wanted to keep Him there. This would prevent him from being able to share God’s love with all people. When Jesus went to pray, He was able to see clearly what He should do; He could see his mission.
Then my youngest said, “This Gospel sounds like what happened to our priests”.
We all agreed that in this Gospel, Jesus is a role model for our priests today. Jesus cares for His friends, family, apostles, and all people. Jesus LOVES! This is what our priests do. They bring Jesus to the people. There is a quote by St. John Vianney, patron Saint of priests and our PAPA patron as well. It says, “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see a priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
After reading the verse again, we noticed that it says, ‘Let us go’. As we were talking we reasoned that this would mean that Jesus took His disciples with Him. Then it changes from ‘us’ to ‘I’ meaning the disciples are there, but Jesus is the one doing the preaching. Isn’t this the same today? The priest is present, but Jesus is the one doing the preaching through the priest.
Our whole family agreed that Jesus opened our eyes to the beauty of the priesthood in a very profound way in the past few years. Priests touch the lives of so many people on a daily basis and the amount of LOVE Jesus showers upon His people through the priesthood is tremendous! We all know Priests bring Jesus to the people in the Mass, but there are many other things they do. For instance, there are priests that get up in the middle of the night to go and administer the Sacraments of Penance, Anointing of the Sick, and Viaticum to the dying. There are priests that rise before dawn and teach their parishioners how to pray the morning prayers with them. There are priests that tirelessly feed the word of God to people starving for the truth. There are also priests that invite those who are sick to come and hear about Jesus and how His love heals through Spiritual exercises or healing services. These are just a few examples of what we have been a witness to, and there are so many other things priests do that we do not even know.
We have had five different priests assigned to our parish in the last nine years. So this is why my daughter said "this is what happened to our priests". They would come for a time and then just like Jesus in this Gospel reading, they had to go. And just like the people in the Gospel, there were some who were not ready for these priests to go and would want them to stay.
We have priests that show us Jesus everyday, but sometimes, it takes something tragic or amazing to wake us up and help us to see this reality. Our priests are attacked by the enemy on a daily basis. Who is the enemy you ask? There are three, and I quote this from our PAPA Handbook page ten. (1. the devil 2. the world and 3. the flesh.) This is why PAPA is so needed today. Our Priests need our prayers.
Our family was touched by Jesus Christ himself, through a priest. Many of you may have a story of being touched by Jesus through a priest. If you would like to share your experience, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear about it.
Here is a beautiful quote from Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire.
WHAT IS A PRIEST?
To live in the midst of the world
without wishing its pleasures;
To be a member of each family,
yet belonging to none;
To share all suffering;
to penetrate all secrets;
To heal all wounds;
to go from men to God
and offer Him their prayers;
To return from God to men
to bring pardon and hope;
To have a heart of fire for Charity,
and a heart of bronze for Chastity
To teach and to pardon,
console and bless always.
My God, what a life;
and it is yours,
O priest of Jesus Christ.
Please join our PAPA family in praying for our priests. Here is the link to our PAPA Prayer for Priests.
May God bless us all!