View all Gospel Reflections |
Prayer and Action
Wednesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
After he left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them. At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Messiah. At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I come before you in prayer. I need your grace to draw closer to you, to hear your voice, and to do your will. Increase my humility so that my pride does not interfere with your will for me. I entrust myself to your loving and gentle guidance.
- A Man of Action: After having been led in the desert to be tempted by Satan and having returned to Nazareth to proclaim his messianic mission, Jesus’s public ministry in Galilee began in earnest. He cast out demons, cured Simon’s mother-in-law of her fever, and healed the many ailing who were brought to him. After so many years of patient waiting during his hidden life, there seemed to be a clear urgency in his action. This intensity of mission was present throughout Our Lord’s public life. There were times when they had no time to eat or rest (Mark 6:31). At least once he was so fatigued that he slept in the boat through the storm (Matthew: 8:24). At the sight of the crowd he had pity and began to teach them (Matthew 9:36).
- The Father’s Will: Our Lord’s energetic activity seems almost incongruous with so much waiting during his hidden life. Nevertheless, this passage enlightens the common thread of both his apparent inactivity and activity. It was the will of his Father: “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” Jesus was aware of being sent on a mission by his Father. For years, that mission entailed a hidden life. Now it entailed active ministry. He embraced both fully, precisely because they were his Father’s will. Similarly, shortly before his Passion, Jesus said, “the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me” (John 14:31).
- A Man of Prayer: Jesus’s escape from the crowd to pray at daybreak indicated that he was not tempted to an activism devoid of prayer. Our Lord modeled for us the nexus between prayer and action. After praying, he knew that the Father wanted him to go to other towns to proclaim the good news. Jesus’s prayer, which sprang from his divinity, is a “filial prayer, which the Father awaits from his children, [and] is finally going to be lived out by the only Son in his humanity, with and for men” (CCC 2599). Therefore, guided by the Holy Spirit, Christians unite their prayer with Christ’s prayer to the Father. Prayer guides and strengthens all we do.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, by your actions you revealed to us the importance of being both contemplative and active in our mission. When we are firmly united to you in prayer and through the sacraments, we fruitfully communicate you to those around us. Imbue in us your love and passion for the will of your Father and for the salvation of souls.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take great care to take several moments throughout the day to offer brief prayers to you.
For Further Reflection: Read Listening For God.
Written by Fr. John Bullock, LC.