September 12, 2023 –
Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and He spent the night in prayer to God.
St. Luke the Evangelist seems to speak more about prayer than the other evangelists. He does so both by giving us Jesus’ words about prayer, and by illustrating occasions on which Jesus prayed. In today’s Gospel Reading we have an example of the latter.
In the example of Jesus’ prayer described today, two things stand out. The first is that Jesus “spent the night in prayer”. Most of us Catholics in the Western world live very spoiled lives. We consider the making of a Holy Hour a great sacrifice on our part. But Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life show how common it was for Him to spend an entire night “in vigil”. The lives of the saints show men and women from various stations in life all taking up this practice of the Lord in order to be close to Him.
The second notable thing about Jesus’ prayer in today’s Gospel passage is that He is engaged in prayer before a significant choice. This reveals that the choice that follows—here, the choosing of the Twelve—is a choice made together by the Father and the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. For ourselves, the choosing of the apostles shows that great sacrifices in prayer, such as nighttime vigils, ought to spent for the sake of God’s work, and not for our own personal interests.