The Holy Gospel according to Mark (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.
Encountering Christ: Prayer is not a laundry list of items we ask God to have washed, starched, and pressed before we return at the end of the day. Nor, is prayer a begging session. Prayer is communication with God – who knows more and better, and is in love with us!
The reason that I am talking about prayer is because near the end of the Gospel passage, Mark says this, “Rising very early before dawn, He left and went off to a deserted place, where He prayed.” This passage follows a lot of activity: the healing of Peter’s wife’s mother, the driving out of demons from all the people who were brought to him, and the curing of diseases. In the midst of a very busy life, our Lord went apart from everything and everyoneand prayed to His Father in Heaven.
We can and should do the same. As we see with Jesus, prayer is set apart. This is important because prayer is really a great thing for everyone, but especially for those who are struggling. Prayer requires that we listen. Prayer is our own. It should be our own. Because it is our own, we can be brutally honest. There is no need to tell God, “Yes, I love my neighbor,” when God knows our heart and knows we cannot stand our neighbor. Tell God the truth: “Lord, I cannot stand my neighbor. Please help me understand this.”
We have to ask the Lord to reveal to us what WE really want because we are so confused and conflicted we don’t even know. How can this happen anywhere but in a space set aside in our home and set aside in our heart?
Action of the Day: Set aside a routine time to pray and stick to it, everyday! Set a space in your home or room and create an altar table (a place for your Bible, prayer book, Rosary, and other special/favorite spiritual items); a special place that is for prayer only. Turn off the gadgets. Then talk to God, it is amazing when you do. Amen.