"After they had broken through (the roof), they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying."
I have a favorite lesson from this reading, so bear with me if you've heard this before! My question for you this winter Friday is: Are you on the mat or are you a friend carrying the corner of the mat? Fr. Mike's homily, many years ago, asked this question, stating that all through our lives we take turns being either on the mat or carrying the mat. There are times when we need our friends to carry us to Jesus and there are other times when we do the heavy lifting. Hopefully, we have more times doing the carrying and lowering, but, during those times, are we available, cheerful mat-bearers? Or do we grudgingly hoist up a corner of the mat and grumble? I admit, I can be much more of a grumbler. Lord, help me to see with your eyes and feel with your heart. Sometimes, I get weary of the needs of others. Sometimes my corner of the mat seems heavy and I glance around to see if there is anyone else to carry it. Help me to be a gracious mat-bearer! Love, heidi
"Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed...
'For this purpose I have come.'"
Mark 1:35, 38
There are a couple of verses in between these two, but when I read this today these two jumped out at me. I think it is totally connected that Jesus goes off alone to pray in a deserted place and then returns and knows his purpose so clearly. Each of us are called to serve, using our gifts. And each of us can get so muddled in everyday life that we go along for days, weeks and even years before we fully realize what that purpose is. I know I can read back on journals kept during times of silence and retreat and it amazes me some of the truths revealed to me! Things I seriously doubt I would have heard if I had not gone off alone to a deserted place! In today's first reading (1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20) Samuel hears the actual voice of God calling to him. How can we possibly hear that with the steady, pulsing din of our noisy world? Today, let's make plans for a mini-retreat we can do in our own homes. Set aside an hour or two, turn off the world (TV, cell phone, computer), light a candle, sit and listen. Pray with Samuel, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening!" Love, heidi
"In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, 'What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?'"
The meditation on this reading in Pray-As-You-Go invites us to imagine the scene in the synagogue. Imagine this disturbed man, screaming and calling out. How would the people react? How would they feel, respond? Now, imagine Jesus stepping forward to do something about it. The deranged man calls Jesus by name? He knows Jesus? Whoa! My image of what the people would be feeling is fear. It would be scary to have some wild guy in the quiet synagogue, shouting and carrying on, wouldn't it? People would close in together and huddle up in fear. But I also think there would some fear in observing Jesus' response and taking hold of the situation. The scripture mentions that they were "astonished" at Jesus and his teaching (v. 22) But I wonder if they weren't a bit fearful of him, too. He was just so different than what they were used to. His teaching was different, his manner was different, and then here's this deal with the possessed man knowing Jesus by name. We tend to fear what we do not understand and I just wonder...were they a bit fearful of Jesus? Love, heidi
"How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?"
This really got me thinking on this windy Monday morning. I thought of many things, such as Jesus' commandments to love God and love each other. I thought of Jesus telling us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick and imprisoned. I thought that listening to Jesus and doing what he said is a way we can give back to God for all the many gifts we've been given. Today's Gospel, too, touched on that when Jesus calls out to the fishermen and says, "Come after me..." (Mark 1:17) On Pray-As-You-Go they asked what would we respond at hearing Jesus' invitation. Immediately I thought, "Yes, Lord! Pick me!" So answering Jesus' call is a fine way to repay God for all the wonderful gifts in our lives. Of course it's not as easy as all that! But, answering Jesus' call on the beach sure seems like a start. What is Jesus asking us to do today? I hear the call to love God and each person I encounter today. Any of my silly Monday-isms I need to place in Jesus' care. I need to roll up my sleeves and do the work I've been called to do. And I need to do this with love and joy! What about you? Love, heidi