(Job 7:1-4,6-7; Psalm 147:1-6; 1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23; Mark 1:29-39)
Seeking the Father’s Will Each Day in Prayer
“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Jesus certainly had a full day. With his first four chosen disciples in tow, he went into the synagogue and not only taught but cast out an unclean spirit. He next slipped away and healed Simon’s mother-in-law. Then, as soon as sunset marked the end of the Sabbath, a horde of people crowded around the doorstep begging Jesus to heal and deliver them. He extended himself to the whole crowd, touching each person with the power of God. Surely this exhausting ministry lasted beyond a normal bedtime.
We could certainly understand if Jesus burrowed under the covers the next morning. Instead, Mark tells us that Jesus rose in the wee hours and headed out to a deserted spot to spend time with his Father. Instead of assuming he knew what God wanted and how to accomplish it, he stopped and listened for God’s guidance. Out of that profound communion emerged clarity about his next step: It was time to preach in other villages.
That’s the way it was with the Lord: never a dull moment! Jesus was constantly on the move. Even his prayer was dynamic. He didn’t get up early just to enjoy a good sunrise and recite a few prayers. No, he was asking, seeking, and knocking. He was determined to discover his Father’s plan, and he was ready to make any adjustments he needed in order to stick to that plan.
Make no mistake. Jesus was active, not just busy. Like a runner crouched at the starting block, his prayer was one of active waiting, not passive wandering. That’s what God wants for us as well. There’s a kingdom to be built. There are people to evangelize and ministries to advance. The hungry need feeding, the wounded need comfort, and the confused need direction. What part does God want you to play? Seek him in prayer, and you’ll find out.
“Here I am, Lord! Show me what you want me to do today. I want to be your servant!”
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In Job’s lament in the first reading (it will begin to be answered by the later readings), he complains of “being filled with restlessness.” St. Augustine made a similar observation when he said, “our hearts are restless ’til they rest in Thee.” Many men seek escape from their inner “restlessness” in friends, sports, alcohol, TV, even pornography. Why can none of these satisfy our restlessness? What steps can you take to make resting in the Lord, e.g., in prayer and worship, a greater part of your life?
- The responsorial psalm begins to answer Job when it says that our “good” and “gracious” Lord “rebuilds,” “gathers,” “heals,” and “sustains” us. How can you allow these truths to more deeply satisfy the restlessness within you?
- In the second reading, St. Paul tells us that he is preaching the Gospel because he feels he is responding to an “obligation” he has to God. What do you think the nature of that obligation is? Do you feel obligated to share the Gospel message of God’s love and mercy with others? Why or why not?
- Are you surprised, as described in the Gospel reading, that even Jesus, the eternal son of God, needed to spend time speaking with his Father and discerning his plan and purpose? . If this was true for Jesus, then how important should it be for you?
- The meditation ends with these words regarding the part God wants you to play in knowing and fulfilling his plan for your life. “What part does God want you to play? Seek him in prayer, and you’ll find out.” What steps can you take to make seeking God’s plan each day a regular part of your times of prayer
- Take some time now to pray for the grace required to know his plan for your life and the grace to say yes to it. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.