Early in the morning, at daybreak, Luke tells us that Jesus “departed and went into a deserted place.” This is one of a number of times in Luke’s account when he speaks of Jesus’ praying. Jesus finds time alone with God. In that time alone, he is able to find direction and clear self-definition.
The message and spirit of today’s reading seems timely in the wake of the shocking bombing yesterday at the Boston Marathon. Such cruel acts intend to sow fear and to invite hate. If we are to be helpful in responding to this kind of evil, we will need embrace another way.
By this-worldliness I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities. In doing so, we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world — watching with Christ in Gethsemane.
Like Daniel and his companions, can we learn the language and compete in the culture of our exile, yet retain our identity as children of God and live according to Christ’s example of love and compassion? How do we protect our identity? Where do we set our moral boundaries?
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