Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God (Lk 6:12).
In the midst of a busy ministry, Jesus spent time alone with God in prayer. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus often did so before making important decisions, as in today’s reading that recorded the choosing of his Apostles. Prayer is an important, foundational principle to experiencing and knowing God as well as discerning his will for living a fully human life.
The Mystery of God is not a problem to be solved. In our language today, we often use mystery and problem interchangeably, as, “I lost my keys, it is such a mystery.” Strictly speaking, the loss of keys is a problem that can be solved. We can back track our steps, and through a process of elimination the problem becomes smaller until we solve the whereabouts of the missing keys. We cannot solve or prove God exists as if he is a algebraic formula or scientific experiment. This is because God is not a being, not even the supreme being. God is a mystery that transcends any finite dimension of reality. We have nothing to measure him by.
Yet we can come to know God intimately just as Jesus did. Even though he is transcendent, beyond our reach and comprehension, he is at the same time closer to us than we are to our self. We come to know God through his invitation, and as we enter into the mystery of his reality through developing a relationship with him, we come to know him. He does not become smaller, but more vast, still beyond our comprehension. His mystery is luminous, as if we were in a completely dark room and someone turned on and shined a flashlight into our eyes. We wince from its brightness, yet in time, our eyes adjust and we eventually are able to see what was beyond our ability prior that first brilliant flash of light. Jesus wants us to experience and embrace the mystery of the radiance and warmth of his Father’s light and love.
Jesus called each apostle by name. He calls us by name too. We can experience and know God. Our lives are busy and full, even with good things, and yet, we need to schedule time with God alone as Jesus did, otherwise we will run out of gas, we will make decisions that may appear to be good, but will lead us astray and away from the fulfillment of our vocation and experience of God. Through making time to pray, meditate on his word, learn from those who experienced God in their prayer lives, worship him, serve him through our service to others, we will discern his will for our lives, be drawn ever deeper into his mystery to experience the intimacy of the communion and relationship we have been created for.
A key form of prayer is intercessory prayer, in that we pray for others. Today, may we remember to pray for and honor those who lost and gave their lives, those who were injured or are still recovering from the effects of 9/11. May we pray for those families and friends who have lost loved ones and are still in need of healing.
May we also join in prayer to forgive the attackers on that day, and for the many who still contemplate, participate, and perpetuate violence in all its forms. May we come to a place of healing and forgiveness and instead channel our energies toward working for justice with mercy and reconciliation. May we seek each day to resist evil and choose good, to resist destroying life and instead commit to saving it and empowering the dignity of others through our thoughts, faces, words and actions.
Lord forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us!
Photo: Amy Dreher – North reflecting pool on the 9/11 Memorial and Museum Plaza
Link for Mass readings for Tuesday, September 11, 2018: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091118.cfm