Guide for Prayer for the week of Jan. 15-21, 2006
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The Second Week of Ordinary Time

“Speak, for your servant is listening.” This week begins with a picture of the call of the first disciples of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. The first words of Jesus in this gospel are: “What are you looking for?” The disciples ask, literally, "Where do you make your home?" Jesus responds, "Come and see." The rest of the gospel tells of how he makes his home in us and invites us to make our home in him.

Tuesday is the Memorial of St. Anthony, Abbot. Saturday is the Memorial of St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr.

In the First Book of Samuel we hear God's rejection of Saul as king. Then Samuel the youngest of Jesse's sons, the shepherd boy David, as king. David kills the Philistine, winning victory for the people, in the name of the Lord. Saul becomes jealous of David and plans to kill him but Saul's son, Jonathan, changes his mind. This doesn't last long and Saul takes after David with his army. David sneaks up on Saul but refrains from killing him. Saul realizes David is God's anointed. At the beginning of the Second Book of Samuel David is full of grief at the news that Saul and Jonathan have died in battle. .'”

As we begin Mark's Gospel Jesus is asked why his disciples don't fast. He challenges the religious leaders to have a completely open mind and heart to his teaching because "new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” Jesus is the Lord of the sabbath, bringing a new freedom. It is only chapter 3 in the gospel, but because Jesus heals a withered hand on the sabbath, the Pharisees already seek to kill him. Jesus withdraws and people from the surrounding regions come to him, and even the demons know who he is. Jesus names twelve Apostles to be with him, to preach and to drive out demons. Jesus' relatives think he's "out of his mind" because so many people are coming to him that he can't even eat.

On the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time we read of the call of the disciples in Mark's Gospel.

 

Daily Prayer This Week

Ordinary Time is the longest Season of the Church year. It isn't a time that is "not special," as the word "ordinary" has come to mean. It comes from the root, "ordinal" and really means "counted time." Week after week, we are following the scriptures, and learning from them, in this season whose first part takes us to Lent. It is an important time to continue to work on our habits of focusing our desires early in the day and talking with the Lord throughout the day, in the background of our busy lives. This is how we become "Contemplatives in action" and find intimacy with God without leaving the context of our real circumstances of our lives.

We hear people say "I don't have time to pray." With this type of focusing and active consciousness, we find ourselves surprised at the time we really do have. There are dozens of times in all of our days during which our minds are occupied with something: a song, re-playing the last event, practicing a conversation with someone, having an imaginary argument with someone, thinking through the "to do" list of the day. We can learn to fill these times with whatever we choose. If we choose to let it be about our relationship with our Lord, it transforms our lives.

It all begins with our mornings. This week, when we first get up and perhaps for a few moments in the shower or getting dressed, let's tell the Lord that what we desire today is to be more conscious of how what we do this day is responding to his call to me to be his disciple. Then, during the day, in those moments while driving or shopping or walking down the hall to a meeting, we can talk about how we are living our call in this or that activity we are engaged in. That conversation may get more detailed and specific in this or that set of events.

Each evening, for even a few moments, we can review our day's momentary conversations, recognizing the moments of real connection and grace and giving thanks for them, and resolving to take even greater advantage of these opportunities the next day.

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