Jan 7 (Mt 4:12-17,23-25)

 

One of the subtle, taken-for-granted, yet successful techniques in life, is “withdrawal”.

(This “withdrawal” is NOT in the psychological sense of alienating oneself or going into an isolated state of mind)

This technique of “withdrawal” is seen in many areas of life….

While playing chess, as part of a clever strategy, one “withdraws” some of the pieces, in order to have a better control over the game.

>> This withdrawal is in order to alter the line of attack…

>> This withdrawal is to plan a new approach to win the game…

While driving a bike through heavy traffic (especially through the Indian roads), one “withdraws” one’s vehicle for some time, by slowing down…

>> This withdrawal is to allow a little more space ahead, so that we can overtake faster…

>> This withdrawal, by slowing down for few seconds, helps to find more empty spaces to go ahead faster…

Withdrawal, as a technique, is not a sign of weakness or surrender…

>> Rather, it’s a tactic to plan better and enhance organizing.

Withdrawal, as a technique, is not an indication of admitting defeat or submissiveness…

>> Rather, it’s a method to make more progress and find better ways out.

The Gospel of the Day begins with a mention of ‘withdrawal’ by Jesus…

“When He heard that John had been arrested, Jesus withdrew to Galilee” (Mt 4:12)

John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus had already begun preaching about the message of repentance.

King Herod, in Jerusalem, had to also face the “naked truths” of the preaching of John.

>> Living in immorality, King Herod had been strongly condemned for his actions, by John

>> Practising adultery, King Herod had been angered greatly by the bold exhortation of John

And so, King Herod had John the Baptist arrested.

>> The “Voice” had been stifled!

>> The “Voice” was suppressed!

St Matthew, however, says, that on hearing of John’s arrest, “Jesus withdrew”.

>> Was it a withdrawal out of fear?

>> Was it a withdrawal because Jesus got intimidated by King Herod?

Surely No!!

Why was it not an action of fear?

Because….

… Galilee, the place where Jesus withdrew, was equally a dangerous place since it was also under King Herod?s rule

… Jesus would display a far greater exhibition of courage, bravery and boldness than even John, by His ministry of Authentic Preaching and Awe-inspiring wondrous deeds.

… God in His Divine plan wanted Jesus to perform much of His ministry in the Gentile region of Galilee.

>> Galilee was certainly not the most obvious place for the Messiah to begin His ministry.

>> Galilee was part of the Northern Kingdom of the nation, which was ruled by ungodly kings…

 

The population was mixed in race and looked down upon by the Jews of Judah & Jerusalem.

> The people of Galilee were considered to be somewhat pagan in their spiritual life.

Yet, as part of His Divine strategy, Jesus “withdraws” to this most improbable place of Galilee to launch His ministry of Spiritual Revolution of the world.

Life sometimes makes us to “withdraw”…

>> In a situation of trouble and crisis, we need to sometimes “withdraw” into our selves and find time with the Lord, in order to assess and evaluate our circumstances.

>> In our dealings with others, we need to sometimes “withdraw” some of our words, expressions and feelings, in order to preserve and strengthen our relationships.

>> In our careers or future planning, we need to sometimes “withdraw” so that we can give sometime for ourselves and thus be able to perform better.

Life is not always rosy and life is not always a cakewalk.

>> Difficulties and struggles are ready to very often pounce on us.

>> Crisis and situations of terror are waiting to grab us by the neck.

Just like our Dear Lord, who is the perfect strategist and the ideal planner, we too need to take control of our lives, by giving time for “ourselves” even if needed to “withdraw” at certain times.

>> This withdrawal is not a retreat into depression…

…  rather a time of preparation with the Lord.

>> This withdrawal is not falling into anxieties…

… rather a time of charging with the power of God

Let us become a powerful witness to Jesus, the Light of the Nations!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS

Bengaluru, India

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) “ Bloom where you are planted!”

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