Seeking Time for Jesus
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 4, 2024
“Rising very early before dawn, Jesus left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon pursued him…”
from Mark 1:29-39 ~
Our beautiful gospel this Sunday reveals Jesus in his full human condition. Jesus has a need to pray, as we all do. He wishes to show us the absolute need to be connected to the Father in prayer, to make a time to be alone with God somehow, no matter what. Surrounded by crowds, staying in Peter and Andrew’s small home in Capernaum, Jesus. Nonetheless, finds a way to pray. What does he do? Jesus literally heads for the hills. Yet, in his quest to be alone for a while, as so often happens with us, he does not fully succeed.
We often find ourselves in moments of decision, such as at times when we are uncertain of which path to pursue. We need time to reflect on the will of God. One of the best places that we can do this in our parish is our adoration chapel, which is open night and day for those who wish to pursue God in a place of quiet (door code available in office!). Having great success in Capernaum, Jesus could have stayed there for many days curing the sick. But he also feels a deep need to keep moving. Why? Jesus knows his days are limited. He knows he must move on; and this is the decision he makes while he is at prayer.
Jesus knows his time is limited. Do I? Jesus has given me tasks to perform in life: I am to pursue holiness; I am to pursue the will of God; I am to get help to my neighbor, my family, my spouse, the strangers amongst us; there is something I need to suffer; something I must learn or teach others; I have a mission, and that mission involves others around me. The catch is that I don’t know how much time I have left to complete this mission. This is why the Lord asks us to regularly reconnect with him in prayer. The Holy Spirit will guide our lives if we are open to his guidance.
The beautiful time of Lent, which is almost upon us, is a time to reconnect with God in a deeper way. Perhaps you are seeking guidance from the Lord in a difficult decision. Notice what happens in today’s Gospel: when Peter finds Jesus, with great concern Peter says to Jesus, in effect, “Where have you been, Jesus? Don’t you realize that everyone’s looking for you? Don’t you realize that everyone needs you?” Most of us would assume that God would have wanted them to go back and finish what they had started, to meet every need before moving on. But Jesus, keeping his eyes on his ultimate goal (the cross and resurrection), because he had prayed, knew exactly what he needed to do. Jesus does the unexpected–“Let’s move on to the neighboring villages, because that is what I have come to do.” When we pray, we are connected with the Lord, and he helps us to keep moving toward our spiritual goals and to make the most of the limited time we have left on earth.
Father Gary ~