Tuesday, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time           

            “Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.”

            Let me focus my reflection on today’s gospel reading on two words: mountain and prayer. Mountain, in the Bible, symbolizes holy place or sacred ground. The mountain lies beyond or above the ordinary experience. Prayer is attending to the things of God. Prayer is the conscious and focused attention on the things of God.

            “The ground” (the lowland) is the symbolic place of our daily activity and action, of busyness and occupation, of hustle and bustle. When we are just “on the ground” – when we just remain there – we tend to live just for our personal interest, family, money, possession, profession, career, business, enjoyment, or pleasure. We get buried in the things we are anxious about or in the things we deem urgent and need attention that we do not see anymore the deeper meaning of life. We tend to forget that there is something more to life than these things.

            We are constantly invited “to go up the mountain to pray.” We have to find a way to look at life “from above” or “on top of a mountain.” We must look beyond the surface and see something more – something more real, more important, more enduring. Indeed, there is something more to life than our ambition and agenda. There is something more to life than our job, career, or business. There is something more to life than money and possessions. There is something more to life than power and privilege. There is something more to life than image and popularity. We can see this “something more” on the mountain… while we are praying.

            There is a religious song entitled Something More (by Fr. Manoling Francisco) that beautifully expresses this point – and part of its lyrics says: Beyond my eyes can see, There must be something more Beneath the surface rush of things, There’s something else in store Beyond this daily strife, There must be more to life An undying rhyme in things I must have known before.

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