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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (1Sam 3:1-10.19-20): During the time young Samuel was minister to the Lord under Eli, a revelation of the Lord was uncommon and vision infrequent. One day Eli was asleep in his usual place. His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see. The lamp of God was not yet extinguished, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was.

The Lord called to Samuel, who answered, «Here I am». Samuel ran to Eli and said, «Here I am. You called me». «I did not call you», Eli said. «Go back to sleep». So he went back to sleep. Again the Lord called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. «Here I am», he said. «You called me». But Eli answered, «I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep». At that time Samuel was not familiar with the Lord, because the Lord had not revealed anything to him as yet. The Lord called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, «Here I am. You called me». Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the youth. So Eli said to Samuel, «Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’». When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the Lord came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, «Samuel, Samuel!». Samuel answered, «Speak, for your servant is listening».

Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect. Thus all Israel from Dan to Beersheba came to know that Samuel was an accredited prophet of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: 39
R/. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the Lord, and he stooped toward me and heard my cry. Blessed the man who makes the Lord his trust; who turns not to idolatry or to those who stray after falsehood.

Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I, «Behold I come».

«In the written scroll it is prescribed for me. To do your will, o my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!».

I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, o Lord, know.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:27): Alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord. I know them, and they follow me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 1:29-39): On leaving the synagogue he 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.

“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed”

Fr. Josep Mª MASSANA i Mola OFM (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, we are clearly shown how Jesus split His working hours. On one hand, He prayed; on the other, He consecrated time to His mission of praying with words and deeds. Contemplation and Action. Prayer and Work. Being with God while amongst men.

We indeed see Jesus dedicated in body and soul to His task as Messiah and Savior: He cures the sick, such as Saint Peter's mother-in-law and many others; He comforts the sad ones, drives out demons and preaches. People bring Him the ailing and those with evil spirits. And they all want to hear His words. His disciples tell Him: “Everyone is looking for you” (Mk 1:37). More often than not, He maintained an exhausting schedule that did not give Him even time to breathe.

But, at the same time, Jesus also had to look for some lonely place where He could pray: “Rising very early before dawn, He left and went off to a deserted place, where He prayed” (Mk 1:35). In other Gospels we can also find Jesus devoted to praying at different hours and even at night. He knew how to distribute His time, so that His working days would have a proper balance between work and prayer.

We often say, "I have not time!" We are so busy with our homework, our professional activity, the countless tasks on our agenda... So, quite often, we believe we should be relieved from our daily prayers. We do a lot of important things, but often run the risk of forgetting the absolutely necessary one: prayer. We have to establish a balance to be able to do the former without neglecting the latter.

Saint Francis puts it like that: “We must faithfully and devotedly work, without extinguishing the spirit of holy prayer and devotion which all temporal things must be submitted to.”

Perhaps we should organize ourselves a little bit better, discipline ourselves by “domesticating” our time. Certainly, what is important must be done. However, what is necessary, is an absolute must.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to God, and show forth His praise. For when you assemble frequently in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and the destruction at which he aims is prevented by the unity of your faith.” (Saint Ignatius of Antioch)

  • “‘Beautiful love’ is learned above all by praying. Prayer brings always some kind of secluded retreat with Christ in God. The Holy Spirit only acts in such ‘secluded retreat’.” (Saint John Paul II)

  • “One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give up, no matter what trials and dryness one may encounter.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 2710)