“He stayed in desert places; yet people kept coming to him from all sides.”
The desert is characterized with quiet, dryness, sand and solitude. There is a distinct beauty in the desert with its minimal life and orange skyline. Jesus often secluded himself in the desert, away from the crowds when he needed to think or pray. These were transformational times for Jesus, his desert times. He would stay in desert places when he needed to be alone with his thoughts and his God.
When else in the Gospel do you remember Jesus going to the desert? Why was he secluding himself? Was it a time of trial or growth?
There are times when we can feel isolated, sad and alone. It can be scary and trying times characterized by loneliness. Yet desert times are important, too, for our faith lives. Desert times can help us get grounded in ourselves and our God. It can be healthy to withdraw from overwhelming external stimuli to remember who we are. The Catechism says that our conscience is a law that God lays on our heart that needs to be nurtured and informed over time. “Its voice, ever calling to love and do what is good and to avoid evil, sound in his heart at the right moment.” Our conscience can be our moral compass. We often need a little quiet, away from all the pressure and voices around us, to hear the wisdom in our own hearts.
When have you had a desert time?
Where is your desert– your place that you retreat to?
“…yet people kept coming to him from all sides.”
Why was Jesus so popular?
How do you think the crowds made him feel?
What kind of pressure was he under?
Why did he not want the cured leper to tell people about him?
It is hard when people are coming at you from all sides. Your parents, teachers, coaches and friends all have expectations of you. There is societal pressure to fit into the norm and be who others want you to be.
Where do you feel outside pressure and stress coming from in your life right now?
How do you respond to the pressure?
How will you carve out desert time this week to be alone?