Everyone loves it when Jesus shows up. His presence makes a difference. Things happen. Mother-in-laws are healed. The sick are cured. Demons are cast out. Lives are changed. This is true not only for the people of Capernaum in Jesus’ time, but also for us here and now. Jesus comes to our house as surely as he went to the house of Simon and Andrew where people lined up at the door. Faith comes a bit easier in those moments. Jesus is real. His presence is felt. Results are seen. All is well.
But what about the times when “life happens” and our faith is challenged? It seems like there is only darkness and Jesus is nowhere to be seen. Some will abandon faith and give up on the Church and Jesus himself. Mark’s gospel tells us that Jesus gets up early—not to abandon us but to find a quiet and deserted place. It’s about prayer—both his and ours. It’s no longer about what is happening around us or to us but what’s happening within us.
The deserted places of our lives are the places of Jesus’ prayer—they are sacred places. They are the starting point for his message of good news. Good news comes from the empty and desolate places where there is nothing but God. Jesus will leave this deserted place to go proclaim his message in the neighboring towns…and in our hearts.