Last week, we saw Jesus taking a break from his daily work. He got up in time to see the sun rise in a deserted place, and he prayed.  After this, he tells his disciples he is going to begin visiting the nearby towns.

How quickly things change!  In today’s gospel, he is already so popular, it was impossible for him to enter towns openly.  He is more than a celebrity, he is hope for all who reach out to him.

So he once again retreats to the desert, and this time, people are drawn after him.  This too is important.  We need to go back and forth between a quiet place where we can find God’s peace, and then carry it out to people that need it.  Yet over time, as we do this, others begin to be drawn to that same road.  Some of the earliest monks were communities of people following a holy person who had initially gone out into the desert to be alone with God!  They grew and grew in number and organization until they became monasteries, built around the idea of being alone together, of giving up city comforts to live in the desert, of sacrificing everything to find the peace that comes from God.

So we see a progression here: Jesus’s healing was always popular, but people are beginning to join him in the desert as well.  And it is in the desert that we find God.

Whatever our little daily desert may be, the peace that we can find there and share with others is attractive.  In the “cities” of busyness and distraction, of anxiety and outrage, peace is slowly drained.  We need to find it again not just for ourselves, not just to carry it to those who need it, but in the hope that someday they will learn to join us in the desert.

Peace ~ Fr. Dan