(I John 5:5-13; Luke 5:12-16)
Bishop Leroy Matthiesen of Amarillo became a national sensation after he told a deacon in his diocese working at the Pantex Nuclear Plant that he should follow his conscience and leave his job. When Bishop Matthiesen was offered a contract for his autobiography, he was warned that he had to write it immediately because interest in his story would not last long.
In the gospel people similarly come in search of Jesus after he heals a leper. The passage indicates that they not only want him to cure their illnesses but also to listen to him teach. Interestingly, Jesus does not double efforts to maximize his popularity but continues to withdraw in prayer. He knows intuitively what most of us forget in face of public admiration -- the source of eternal life is not in worldly recognition but in communion with God.
Whether we are famous or whether our virtue is known only by our loved ones, we are wise to imitate Jesus in prayer. Daily conversation with God offers us the opportunity to recognize our limitations and to draw on the Lord’s strength.