Our society holds certain people in high regard. Celebrities, political leaders, the very wealthy. Fame sets them apart, makes them bigger than the life they lead and we see them for what they are rather than who they are.
We have learned and believe fervently that Jesus is divine, the Son of the Father, and we can easily ascribe to Him a similar aloofness.
But the Gospel shows us not only what Jesus is, the Divine Savior, but also Who He is — a human being with emotions and physical needs as we ourselves have.
There is a difference between Jesus the prophet Who ministers to the people, and the glorified Jesus after the Resurrection.
The glorified Jesus reigns in heaven with omnipotence, but Jesus the prophet encounters His divinity day-by-day.
It is clear He understands His destiny and is obedient to His Father’s commands, but He becomes tired and hungry and weary, just as we do on our journey.
We hear several times how Jesus seeks solitude, yet the crowds pursue Him as “sheep without a shepherd.”
We can certainly relate to those feelings, as parents, as workers, and just encountering the trials and travails of daily life. We may seek refuge in entertainment, social media or any of dozens of available distractions.
Jesus sought refuge alone in prayer to His Father. Indeed, He shows us the way.
The story of the woman who is cured by touching His clothes is a study in the humanness of Jesus. Just inches away in a throng of followers, her faith is the power by which she is cured.
At her touch, we are told, He felt the power go out of Him without His prior knowledge.
He knows the power He commands and He understands His mission, but He encounters this earthly world moment-by-moment; through His prayer and obedience to His Father’s will, He wields His power only to accomplish that will.
We are like that also. Through prayer and obedience to the Father’s will, we encounter life moment-by-moment and in holiness employ the resources God has provided to accomplish His will.
Sinfully, we direct those resources to our own selfish desires. The Father provided for all of Jesus’s earthly needs and He provides for ours. Let us trust in Him as Jesus trusted in Him.
Among the trials we encounter daily are the sickness and injuries that afflict ourselves and those we love. Jesus set an example for us to endure those trials as He endured His passion and death.
He sets an example too for us to use the resources that God provides to alleviate the suffering of others as we are able. As He cured the sick and troubled, so we are to bring healing and peace to those we encounter throughout our life.
And when we ourselves are afflicted, it is holy to accept the help of others with gratitude. For those afflicted, it may be the loss of independence and dignity that is most difficult to bear, but there is mutual holiness between the afflicted and the caregiver as there was between Jesus and those He healed.
So many lessons in the Gospels. Read them carefully and then read them again.
In solitude it is prayer, listening to the words from the Father, just as Jesus sought in His journey here on earth.
Mr. Vogel is a member of Cathedral of St. Joseph parish in Jefferson City.