A relentless life

Next Sunday is the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time with readings from the Book of Job, the First Letter to the Corinthians, and the Gospel of Luke. You can read a full commentary on the gospel here.

29 On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. 31 He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. 32 When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. 33 The whole town was gathered at the door. 34 He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. 35 Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and those who were with him pursued him 37 and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” 39 So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

The fast paced Gospel of Mark continues. After having cast out an evil spirit from a person in the synagogue, Jesus retires to the house of Simon Peter (which is modern days seems to have been located right across the “street” from the synagogue!). And in rapid fire succession, he heals Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, cures the may ill and possessed that showed up at the door, and finally retires for the evening after a long day.

Rising early in the morning he wants to find a place alone to pray, but… the disciples hunt him down – and that is just not a euphemism -the Greek word for “pursued” is most often translated as “hunted.” The disciples know there are those who need Jesus’ healing words and touch. The disciples have not yet understood the importance of prayer in Jesus’ mission.

In the first reading, Job is having one of those long nights. Probably like you have had on more than once occasion. We are “hunted” by all our responsibilities and pursued by our obligations. Do we take time to pray? Do we turn to God in that long, still, unrelenting night?

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