Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, He called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them whom He called apostles: Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.
Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood on a level place. Many of his disciples were there and a large crowd of people who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear him and be healed of their diseases; likewise people troubled by evil spirits were healed. The entire crowd tried to touch him because of the power that went out from him and healed them all.
Jesus climbing up to the hill is always for a divine encounter. It is here that we are called to encounter with God. Every divine encounter is an enactment of our faith. This faith helps us to understand and live our Christian life, in its fulness. This Christian life is divided into two parts: contemplation of the Word of God and action, its fulfilment. We are all invited to listen to the Word of God, to discover His will, and to fulfil all that we have heard from the Lord. Jesus shows us that He Himself was in prayer and action was a consequence of that prayer.
Since prayer is a relationship, our attachment to the Lord, like a branch attached to the vine, is itself a prayer. We must not force ourselves to give fruit, for by our positive commitment, and our faithfulness to the divine will, will de facto give the fruit desired by the Lord. That is, by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, God will bear fruit in us, and all that he has initiated in us, by our cooperation, will be completed by the same Spirit.
If we look into the life of the Apostles, we will find that the Apostles of the Lord listened to the Lord and put His Word into practice, and they felt this impulse of the Holy Spirit within them, while they were in action. On this feast day, we are asked to read His Word and put it into practice. If we do so, we will see in ourselves the wonders of God, and through us others will feel the divine power.
Action of the day: Listen to the world of God
«Went out into the hills to pray»
+ Fr. Albert TAULÉ i Viñas
Today, we may contemplate a full day in the life of Jesus. A life with two clear sides: prayer and action. If, as Christians, we are to imitate Jesus' life, we cannot prescind of any of these two dimensions. All Christians, even those who are consecrated to a contemplative life, have, and must have, certain moments for praying and certain others for action. The length of time for each one may, of course, vary. We can see that even friars and nuns in close orders devote a good part of their time to some kind of work. On the other hand, those of us that are more “secular”, if we wish to imitate Jesus, we should not carry out a frantic activity without spreading it with a prayer. St. Jerome says: «Even though the Apostle ordered us to pray all the time, (...) we must devote to this exercise certain previously determined hours».
Did Jesus need these lengthy hours of lonely prayer, when everybody else was asleep? Theologians study the psychology of Jesus man: up to which point had He direct access to divinity and up to which point was He «one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin» (He 4:15). To the point we consider him closer to us, his praying “practice”, must be evidently a clear example for us.
Once we have well established our praying, it only remains for us to imitate him in action. In today's fragment, we can see him “organizing the Church”, that is, choosing those who were to be his future evangelists, the followers of his mission on earth: «When day came, He called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them whom He called apostles» (Lk 6:13). We find him, later on, healing all type of sicknesses. «Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all» (Lk 6:19), the Evangelist says. So that our identification with him may be complete, we only need that this power to heal everybody may also come forth from us. This will only be possible if we remain in him so that we can bear plenty of fruit (cf. Jn 15:4).