Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s Gospel, we hear of a “large number of people” who came to “hear Jesus and be healed of their diseases.” We can see that it is the people’s desire for healing that first draws them to Jesus. With that, today’s Gospel can be seen as an invitation to all of us to recall what first drew us to Jesus. In the case of the twelve Apostles, it was the explicit calling of their names by Jesus. In the case of other disciples, it was their desire for healing.
Each Christian will have a personal story of what first drew him or her to Jesus. Perhaps it was an encounter with Scripture. Perhaps it was seeing the faith of a friend or family member. Perhaps it was even the witnessing of a miracle. Whatever the case may be, today’s Gospel invites us to recall what first drew us to Jesus, and to thank him for it.
You have made us for yourself, oh Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.
—St. Augustine of Hippo