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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Preparing for Sunday

The opening prayer for this Sunday's Liturgy is: "Father, watch over your family and keep us safe in your care, for all our hope is in you." I like the simplicity of this prayer; with all the bad news we get everyday about the economy, the unrest, violence, and fighting in so many places, it is good to realize that indeed, all our hope is in God!

The Gospel, Mark 1:29-39, has several points to reflect on:
1. Jesus goes from the Synagogue to the house of Simon and Andrew. James and John are with them so the five of them arrive and find that Simon's mother-in-law is sick with a fever. They immediately turn to Jesus and he takes her by the hand and helps her up. The fever left her and she waited on them. I suspect that she helped serve them a simple Sabbath meal that had been prepared ahead of time.

2. After sunset, when the Jews could travel, the whole town gathered at the door bringing all who were ill or possessed by demons. Jesus cured many and drove out many demons. We know his compassionate heart that went out to those in need. He still wants to heal us and cast out our demons.

3. "Rising very early before dawn, Jesus left and went off to a deserted place where he prayed. This was so important for Jesus to have time to be with his Father. I think that just as we do not know exactly what the day will bring and how God wants us to spend it, Jesus needed to be in touch in a deeper way with his Father in his humanity. Since he was like us in all things, Jesus had to discern where he should go, what he should do and that is one reason he went off to pray alone. I am sure he needed to draw light and strength from his Father.

4. "Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said,'Everyone is looking for you.'" Jesus said, "Let us go to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose I have come." So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons. When everyone is looking for him, Jesus moves on to let others know about the Kingdom of God. He is a man with a mission! It is well to remember his need though to go off and pray in quiet places. We all need to do that or at least find some silence so we can hear the voice of God who speaks to our innermost being.

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