Jesus sets us free
We all find life hard: During the week I bumped into an older colleague, a priest in the diocese, asking me how thing were going. I made some remark about keeping my head above water, and he replied: ‘it only gets worse!’ How cheerful!
The first Reading from Job presents us with a rather gloomy, dismal picture of the slavery, drudgery and at times seeming pointlessness of life, and the meaningless of monotonous routine getting up in the morning living for wages as the only reward or relief from pain, the discomfort in present toil and hard graft. Interestingly, even though it is a text from the Bible, God is strangely absent in the writer’s reasoning – and maybe that is the point - it explains the gloominess of his plight.
I am sure we have often though especially recently – that life can’t get any harder than it is. We often feel that our value as a person we feel depends on our usefulness People seem to lack hope. We are all compulsively busy.
The Gospel presents Jesus as very concerned and busy for others. Besides curing illnesses, Jesus is concerned with the prevalent demonic possession - and much of His ministry is devoted to casting out these demons.
The term ‘our demons’ has come to mean our sins, failings, bad memories, character faults, and regrets over the past. Jesus wants to set us free from ignorance, error and sin. He wants to set us free with His truth.
Our lives as Christian followers must first be characterised first by repentance
The demons are exorcised and Jesus goes off to pray in a lonely place while it is still dark. His disciples note His absence. His disciples are looking for Him and find Him in a lonely place and once more Jesus gets up and the ministry continues in another place.
‘Everyone is searching for you’. We all seek peace of mind, stability, contentment, harmony, joy, answers, guidance, meaning, direction, but especially HOPE.
The disciples found Jesus in a deserted place – in silence, away from the crowd, noise, where everything happens. Rather in stillness, calm, peace, even darkness.
If people wanted to follow Jesus, it would have to be on His terms, in other words they must make an effort to follow.
And so to find Jesus for ourselves, the second aspect of being a disciple is that – each of us must have a place of SOLITUDE, a favourite place to pray, a favourite TIME to pray. Jesus had to go while everyone was still asleep so as not be disturbed. There He found peace, and was re-energised with purpose.
As soon as His disciples caught up with Him in this place of silence and encounter, and discovered where Jesus was to be found, then His will became clear to them too, His mission became their mission. Their path became clear, and Jesus led them. Jesus has set Himself apart from evil and will overcome the powerful reality of evil. In prayer we discover God’s will for us in our increasingly busy lives. Let us resolve to find a time and a place where we can be by ourselves and with Jesus.