Prayer leads us to respond


August 3, 2020 – 18th Week in Ordinary Time

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The Gospel of Matthew tells us this attitude of Jesus to commune with his Father. After his busy schedule, overwhelming encounter with the sick, heavy loads in teaching, Jesus would find time to be alone and to pray.

This is an attitude that shows us the importance of prayer life, to gather our thoughts, to reflect and relax after a busy and tiring day, and to be more intimate with God. The Gospel would always tell us about this attitude in Jesus. He would always find time to be alone in order to give a space for himself and for his Father in heaven. This is an intimate expression of love and confidence. Prayer then, is that intimate expression of love and confidence with God.

In a concrete way, this love and confidence heightens ones awareness of the needs others.

Again, the Gospel of Matthew tells us how the prayer of Jesus made him aware of the difficulties of his disciples. Jesus sensed that they needed his help. The disciples who were on the boat, crossing the sea, experienced a storm. They were frightened and terrified. Though most of them were fishermen and had experienced before that kind of danger, but they were still afraid.

They must have been terrified because the source of their confidence was not with them at that time. Jesus was not with them on the boat. They were alone in the midst of that storm.

However, the prayer of Jesus made him aware of this fear and need of the disciples. Jesus went and made himself present in that moment of fear of the disciples. He made himself present to assure and give confidence. The words of Jesus are indeed both an assurance and an invitation, he said, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Indeed, this is an assurance that God comes and meets us where we are at the moment even in our darkest and most fearful moment in life. God comes to make himself present in our life. This is also an invitation to recognize the Lord in those trying times and not to let our fear overwhelm us.

The invitation for us today is this – that like Jesus our prayer also should lead us to become aware of the needs of others and move us to respond. This is an active prayer and a life-giving prayer.

Prayer then, is not meant to be mechanical and a mere ritual. Prayer in itself is an invitation for us, that as we become more aware of God’s presence in us, we too become more aware of the presence of people around us. Prayer bears fruit then, when we make ourselves be moved to the needs around us in order to give life. In this way, our prayer becomes life-giving.

This is how true prayer and communion with God transforms us because it moves us to give our a person and very presence to those who are distressed and afraid today. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


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