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A Multitude at the Seaside
Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.
Opening Prayer: Lord, I know that you are present here and I trust in your divine intervention. Open my mind and heart to hear your words and be changed by them.
- They Came to Him: A “great multitude” followed Jesus from Galilee. “Hearing all that he had been doing” impelled them to seek him out. Who was this mystery man? Some were intrigued by his words. Many sought physical healings, and Jesus was their last hope. Would they believe that Jesus was more than a prophet, more than a teacher? Would Jesus impress upon them his authority, his majesty, his individual love for each of them? An encounter with Jesus brings with it great promises of abundant grace, spiritual awakening, forgiveness, and more. What did this great multitude experience? We can experience the same graces every day when we pray.
- They Would Not Crush Him: The crowds surrounding Jesus were weighed down by spiritual, emotional, and physical afflictions. Jesus would not be “crushed” by the weight of their burdens, rather, “He took on [their] infirmities and carried [their] sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). When our anxieties, our afflictions, our worries weigh us down, we can cast them confidently onto Jesus. Nothing is so overwhelming that Jesus cannot carry it for us, if we will only give it to him to handle.
- You Are the Son of God: The demons knew that this man, Jesus, was more than he seemed. Jesus silenced them. Why didn’t Jesus claim his title, “Son of God”? Because it was not yet the time appointed by his Father. In all things, large or small, Jesus obeyed the Father’s will, setting an example for each of us.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I am filled with afflictions in body, mind, and soul. I come to you and beg of you to take the weight from me, so that I no longer feel crushed by it. Replace my worries with faith and hope so that my very being cries out, “You are the Son of God!”
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will remember to bring my troubles, pains, and worries to you in prayer before I act.
For Further Reflection: Is Worrying a Sin?, National Catholic Register
Jeanette Cohn lives in Severna Park, Maryland, with her husband of thirty-four years. She works as a freelance writer and private tutor (firstname.lastname@example.org) and is the founder of St. John Paul II Formation Homeschool Academy (www.stjpii.org).