The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Sisoy Cellan, SVD (USC, Cebu City)
Tuesday 23rd Week in Ordinary Time
Image: Chapel at the Finnemann Building, Christ the King Seminary, Quezon City, Philippines
It is said that a deer becomes extremely thirsty on two occasions. One is when it is running scared away from danger; the other is when it has to fight an opponent in a do-or-die situation. By instinct, the deer would rush to a river, where it can stay submerged as long as it can, or swim downstream noiselessly. When being chased by a predator, the deer would get so faint that it would long for the refreshment the water gives.
The deer’s experience could be similar to our own. Each time we are in a critical situation or facing difficult circumstances, we should seek the Presence of God to find refuge in Him.
In today’s gospel, we have the story of Jesus, who spent a night of prayer on the mountain. He did this before calling people to be His disciples. Choosing the Twelve was not easy for the Lord. Deciding which ones should be part of His team and eventually become his apostles was a risky business. He understood the implications of His choices and recognized the tendency of going for the smartest, strongest, and most talented.
Jesus was in a danger zone in that He could have fallen for the mundane accomplishments of a person and choose him on that ground. He resisted the urge to use the worldly criteria. He also fought off the impulse of making the selection alone. He needed the guidance of the Father, and His soul was thirsting for His Divine presence. And so He went to pray, and pray hard the whole night He did.
Dealing with life’s choices or going through crossroads is not a walk in the park. But Jesus has given us a blueprint on how to come up with decisions that will have an impact on others or can potentially alter the course of events. We must not do it alone. We must first seek out God and quench out thirst by His presence. Psalm 42:1 puts it beautifully: “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.”