What kind of a person is Jesus?
February 9, 2003

Al Cariño
5th Sunday in Ordinary Times
Reproduced with Permission

In the past several Sundays, we celebrated one feast of Jesus after another -- His birth on Christmas day; His early childhood on the feast of the Child Jesus (a national feastday in the Philippines); His baptism by John in the Jordan when we heard the Father say, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased"; and last Sunday, the presentation of Jesus in the temple when Simeon prophesied that He would be a "sign that will be opposed," and because Mary shared in His mission till the end, her soul would be "pierced with a sword." Knowing all this and now that Jesus has just started His ministry, we may raise the question: "What kind of a person is Jesus?" Mark, in talking about a day in the life of Jesus (Mk. 1: 29-39), may provide us an answer.

Mark tells us that Jesus, after teaching in the synagogue, went to the house of Peter where his mother-in-law lay sick and whom Jesus cured. There was no mention about what Jesus did later though we know from other sources that He preached to people who were eager to listen to Him.

But as evening drew near, the "whole town" went to Jesus -- some with their sick and the possessed, and others who were just curious. He must have slept late that night attending to and healing the sick and expelling demons from possessed people.

Early the following day, Jesus went to a lonely place in the desert to pray. Peter and his companions must not have noticed Him leave the house. So they "pursued him" Him. When they finally found Him, He was at prayer. When Peter told Him that everyone was looking for Him, Jesus responded that He had to go to the nearby villages so He can also preach there as "For this purpose have I come."

So in what does the day of Jesus consist? He was at prayer very early in the morning; He next taught in the synagogue or preached to people who were eager to listen to Him; and as evening drew near, He cured the sick and expelled demons.

Jesus always started His day in prayer. He communed intimately and deeply with His Father, reaffirming His love for Him as well as placing His will completely at His disposal. It is from this intimate relationship with His Father that He drew the "Good News" He was to proclaim to as many people as possible and the power to heal the sick and expel demons. This explains why even if there were still many people in the village who had not yet heard His message and whose sick had not yet been healed, Jesus had to leave for the next village so He could also proclaim the Good News to them.

So what does a day in the life of Jesus reveal to us about the kind of person that Jesus is? Above all, we learn that Jesus is a person of prayer. In fact, prayer is His secret weapon. All His teachings and good deeds were preceded by and proceeded from prayer. And it is because of prayer that He was able to teach "with authority," had the power to cure the sick and expel demons whom He ordered to keep silent as they knew who He really was -- the Son of God.

Since we claim that we are disciples of Jesus, we can at least follow Him in two of His daily activities (let us exclude healing as this gift is granted to just a few):

We are not asked us to do extraordinary things. Rather, we are asked us to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way, that is, in loving obedience to the will of the Father. After all, it is not the act but the motive behind the act that counts in God's eyes.

If we start our day and every day with prayer as Jesus did, we will be surprised at the great transformation that will take place in ourselves as well as in our relationship with others. We will be pleasantly surprised that what proceeds from us -- our thoughts, words and acts -- are reflections of the goodness and love of God. So how about making use of Jesus' secret weapon -- prayer -- and allow it to transform us into what God wants us to be?

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