Sun 13th Aug 2017

19th Week in Ordinary Time (A)
1 Kgs. 19:9,11-13
Ps. 84(83):9-10,11-12,13-14;  Rom. 9:1-5
Mt. 14:22-33   (Ps Wk III)

“Jesus went up into the hill by himself to pray.”
Though the Gospel rarely tells us the contents of Jesus' prayer, there are numerous references to the fact that at certain moments in his life he did go off alone to pray. The contexts of some of these occasions can help us understand more deeply Jesus' motivations for prayer. In our reflection for Monday 7th August, we saw how Jesus went off to pray when he heard of the death of John the Baptist. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Though perhaps not so obviously, Jesus on this occasion too had a deeply spiritual reason to need to go to pray: he had just faced two enormous temptations. He had just multiplied the loaves, not for himself but to feed the hungry — something he reminded us that we had an obligation to do (Mt 25:35, 42). As St John tells us clearly (6:15) he then sensed that the people were about to come to make him king — just as the devil had suggested to him once (Mt 4:8-9; Lk 4:5-6). Jesus had to pray for he was facing the devil's temptations once again — those temptations that come in daily life from the desires and misunderstanding of those around us.

Lord Jesus, when we face temptations in life, unite us with You in Your prayer.