Miracles and Prayers

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Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

 

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.

 

Opening Prayer: Lord, your power to heal and overcome darkness is as strong today as it was when you walked upon the earth. Strengthen my faith in your power, your goodness, and your plans for me and those I love. I believe; help my unbelief!

 

Encountering Christ:

 

  1. Compassionate Healer: Jesus left the synagogue where he had just astounded the congregation with his divine knowledge of Scripture and his power over a demon. When he entered the house of Simon and Andrew, he probably did so as a man who would have liked a hot meal and a rest! However, when he heard that Simon’s mother-in-law was ill, he immediately healed her of her illness. No matter how weary he was, Jesus always drew strength from his Father to minister to the people. His innate compassion and love for everyone he encountered shone throughout the Gospel of Mark. Simon’s mother-in-law was changed fundamentally by her healing experience of Christ. Not only was her illness gone, she felt a compelling desire to wait upon Jesus. She exemplifies the response we should all have when we personally encounter Christ in prayer, in the sacraments, and in others.
  2. Ultimate Power: As the day of miracles seemed to draw to a close, the word was out in Capernaum that a healer was in their midst. Every family in town with a loved one suffering from physical illness or afflicted with demons rushed to Simon’s house, hoping against hope that their loved ones might be healed. Jesus did not disappoint. It is hard to imagine how great the rejoicing must have been as seriously ill people were made well and people who were tormented and afflicted by demons were set free. Nothing like it had ever been recorded in human history! We gather as a community every Sunday at Mass. What is our expectation? Do we anticipate an increased sense of Christian friendship? Are we seeking a healing? A spiritual boost? We encounter Jesus, Son of the living God, who has the ultimate power to heal and strengthen us. He encourages us to hope in him.
  3. Fueled by Prayer: Despite a long and eventful day, Jesus rose early the next morning to seek solitude. Physically fueled as he was by the hospitality of Simon’s mother-in-law, he needed something more than a few extra hours of sleep. He needed the connection with his Father that prayer alone can provide. When the Apostles found Jesus and told him that everyone was looking for him, he responded with renewed purpose, and they left to preach in the neighboring villages throughout Galilee. If we want to be servants of God, we can imitate Jesus by making prayer our first priority. 

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, teach me to seek you in prayer at the beginning of each and every day. Open my eyes to those who you are calling me to serve, and give me the grace to serve with love. Give me a grateful heart. May I bless your name in good times and bad, knowing that you will always work for my good in all circumstances. 

 

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will commit to rising a few minutes early each day to spend more time in prayer, both talking to you and quietly listening.

 

For Further Reflection: How to Create a Prayerful Morning Routine.

 

Cathy Stamper lives in Maryland with her husband, Mike. They have been partners in marriage and business for over thirty-one years. They are grateful for their five young adult children and large extended family.

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