1st Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Heb 2:14-18
Since the children share in blood and Flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Gospel: Mk 1:29-39
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose, have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
…he prayed: The Gospel reading invites us to see, ponder and share in the life of Christ. He moves from the Synagogue (that is on a Sabbath) to the house of Peter and Andrew and there, he does not hesitate to cure Peter’s mother-in-law who was down with fever. At sunset, he extended his ministry of mercy and compassion beyond the household of his disciples. People brought him their sick and those possessed with demons. Despite the busy day, he rises early the next morning and goes to pray. His ministry did not deter him from communion with the Father the source of life and of everything that is good. Only in Him do we find the reason, joy, strength and motivation to carry on. He gives meaning to our lives and works.
Prayer: Lord grant us your heart of mercy and compassion. Grant that in the many activities of this day, we may remain in communion with You. Amen.
EVERYONE IS LOOKING FOR YOU: Each of us is restless until we rest in the Lord. During the time of Eli, the Word of the Lord was uncommon, and consequently many like Samuel could not recognize the Voice of the Lord. Eli helped Samuel to recognize the Lord. How much have we helped others to recognize the Lord in their lives? We can only do this if we ourselves have known the ways of the Lord. In the Gospel, the disciples are helping the crowds to reach Jesus, while Jesus helps all to reach his Father. Let us be like Eli and like the disciples in taking people to our Lord Jesus Christ. May we hearken to the voice of God like Samuel, when we are directed by our bishops, priests and by church leaders.
Prayer: O Lord, grant that we all embrace the missionary spirit towards each other, to spread the fire of your love wherever we go and to whoever we meet.
LIFE OF PRAYER: It was God’s gracious plan to save the world through the human flesh—Jesus became human and he shared our earthly life so as to save us from the slavery of sin. Though this great Christian truth was explained by the apostles recognized during their period, the truth of incarnation was fiercely debated for the first four centuries of the Church history. They questioned how God can become man and how can he share our sinful nature. God chose to save us through the flesh to show that our human flesh can be redeemed and kept holy. We too can live holy lives as Christ himself lived. Jesus kept himself holy through his constant communion with the Father through daily prayer. Our flesh will be safe only with the constant dialogue with God.
**** ATTAINING DIVINE WISDOM: We come across people who hold their ground against all odds, standing their ground against any opposition. Such are the people seen today; a people who wish to cash in on the presence of Jesus. They take advantage of this miracle worker, “The whole town was gathered at his door”. This led to the words of Simon, “Everyone is looking for you”. Jesus on His part maintains a presence of mind and a certain fortitude, and hence swims away from such swirling sea currents. He however, keeps to mind the mandate from above handed on to him: “For this purpose I have come” Mk 1: 38. From His reaction, we learn from the story of the sparrow that was stuck in the fresh warm dung, on a cold winter morning. For a moment she felt cozy and warmed up. However, soon a better sense prevailed; within minutes she was going to be fully trapped in the hardened dung forever. Let us be led by God’s wisdom to move out of our comfort zone and do right even when the moment looks inviting.