Pentecost +12 – Year A
Getting away to a deserted spot is never easy. At the very least along come memories of triumph and regret, the last thing we heard before leaving, and visions of dragons yet to be slain.
Jesus, sometimes successful in sending folks ahead while he remained or walking through a hostile crowd, here was brought an opportunity to serve.
For those who tend toward Jesus having a plan for every moment, suspicions might arise about his withdrawing to a deserted place where folks in droves would be waiting. (Was that one person who noted his going minion of the tempter to see how he would deal with a conflict between wanting to be away and a commitment to mercy or just an observant person on their way for a healing who caught a glimpse of Jesus disappearing around the corner ahead of him?)
The news Jesus had just heard was terrifying and the last thing one needs in such circumstances is to be alone for fears to grow and temptations to return.
We might consider that continuing deeper into his ministry, particularly a ministry of mercy, would trigger a remembrance that such is still possible in such a terrifying world. This may have been the most healing thing Jesus could do for his sorrowful soul – to arrange a mercy moment on a large scale.
How is it with you?
Are your withdrawal times a source of energy-building or draining? Is this a time of practice of your particular ministry focus?
Are you glad for not being alone even when you had planned for the alone? Under what circumstances? Do you find ministry opportunities to show up alongside your non-ministry intentions?
How would this incident of mercy feeding have been received if it had been done as street theatre response to John's death in a busy spot rather than in a deserted spot on the sly?