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True Restoration in Relationship with God
Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
On leaving the synagogue he 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 Jesus, let me reflect on your contemplative and conquering spirit. Far from being two extremes, they are united in your one love for the Father and all people. May I discover a unity of life in loving through prayer and action.
- Capernaum’s Octagonal Church: Even today you can enter Capernaum, or what is excavated of the fishermen’s town. A modern church stands over the ruins of an octagonal Byzantine church. Tradition relates that the ancient church was built over the house of Simon’s mother-in-law. The ancient architect captured the significance of the events through the octagonal church. Eight stands for the fullness of new life, the anticipated day when Christ will be all in all, and all of creation will be made new. As Jesus preaches, heals, and drives out demons, we get a foretaste of the complete restoration that will one day take place in eternity.
- A Deserted Place: Jesus seeks a solitary place, not to be alone, but to be in solitude with his Father. There is a difference between loneliness and solitude. Loneliness reflects a soul who feels disconnected from the richness of relationships. It speaks of a heart longing for meaningful communion, for which we are made. Solitude reflects a soul that seeks to flee the plethora of demands that fight for one’s attention. Solitude seeks simplicity, one thing only, to be with the source of all meaning and communion–God. It is good to listen to what pulls at our attention and examine if we “go to a deserted place” often enough to refocus and replenish our reserves.
- For This Purpose Have I Come: We see Jesus’s focus in his desire to go to a deserted place and be with his Father. And we see his focus once again when the disciples present the desires of the people to him. He knows why he came. He does not flee his mission, but knows that to give of himself fully, he must be in relationship with his Father. Scripture accounts for his travels around the whole of Galilee, not an easy task on foot. The crowds continued to grow as word got out. He knew that some came for curiosity’s sake and others truly believed in him. He longed to preach so that his Word might strike at the core of their conscience and win them over for the kingdom of God. For this purpose he came.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, for what purpose am I here? What do you desire of me? Help me to seek solitude in the cultivation of my interior life. As I discover you in prayer, help me to lovingly respond to your voice through a pathway of virtue.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will examine where I can give meaning and unity to my prayer and activity by loving more purely.
For Further Reflection: The Fruitful Union of the Contemplative and the Active: https://catholicexchange.com/the-fruitful-union-of-the-contemplative-and-active.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala.