January 11, 2017 – Wednesday in the 1st Week of the Church Year

Saint of the day: Blessed William Cater (c. 1548 – 1584)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Hebrews 2:14-18    –    Psalm 105       Mark 1:29-39

“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. (today’s Holy Gospel according to St.Mark)

We’re still in the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel and we can see that crowds of people are following him with their sick and hurting people who are in need of his healing touch. “The whole town was gathered at the door.” Most of us who feel called to follow Jesus in some way or other would probably stay around thinking, “how could I turn my back on people in need?” Yet Jesus gives us a very important lesson that we need to pay attention to. If He, who is God Incarnate, could do all things and heal everyone with a sweep of His holy arm, pauses to go off to a deserted place to pray … who do we think we are to skip this important part of our following of Him? If the entire town was crowding around our door step most of us would stay there trying our best to meet the needs of all those people. Yet the example that Jesus gives us is that we need to keep our focus on God – through prayer – in order to have the where-with-all to carry out the mission of healing sick and hurting people that knock at our door. Sadly, though, the first thing that most of us drop when the demands of ministry become great is our prayer. I think I just mentioned this the other day but I always remember the time I encountered a young man when I was on my way to our Evening Prayer. He said, “Brother, I just need to talk to someone … I’m really in a bad spot.” When I told him that I was on my way to prayer he immediately shot back, “…Oh, yes. Go. We need you to pray. My problem will last and I can see you later. But please, go and pray for me!”   Prayer is the first “pillar” of our Dominican Spirituality yet it is often the first thing to get dropped. If Jesus, who is God, realized that he needed to fortify himself with prayer how much more do we mortals need to follow his example? Amen?

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