“So from that day on they planned to kill him. So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?” (John 11)
The hostility of his enemies is growing, and Jesus knows that his actions will have consequences. He does not push things unduly, but he has a choice: celebrate the great feast of the Lord’s deliverance in a public place, and so put himself within the reach of his enemies, or hide away and praise the Father quietly in private. John always emphasizes in his Gospel that Jesus chooses, he is not just some unwitting pawn.
That is part of conversion: choosing to act, to do things, even though some of them may open us up to attack. That is a choice Francis had to make in regard to facing his father. For a while, he was too afraid of the consequences and hid from his father. But at last he knew if his choice were to be truly authentic, he had to face his father no matter what. I am sure Francis hoped his father, Pietro, would understand his choices and support him, or at least let him go with a tacit blessing. But he knew his father, and knew that there were other more likely reactions. He went forth, anyway, right into the heart of town, to meet Pietro and see what would happen, trusting that whatever happened God would be there.
Knowing God is with us in hard decisions is so vital. And so Jesus chose to show us the truth of it: His Father was with Him, even when He chose to go to Jerusalem for the Passover and face the hostility that was building. May God give us this faith and courage too, in all the little decisions as well as the big ones that are difficult to make.
Peace and Good!