Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 2:14-18 + Psalm 105 + Mark 1:29-39
January 16, 2013
“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” [Mark 1:35]
Today’s Gospel passage, from the first chapter of Mark, notes two particular traits about Jesus’ earthly life that are worth our reflection. These two points come in the last third of the passage. Today’s Gospel passage is really made up of three rather distinct but brief “mini-passages”. In each, Jesus is what we might today call a “busy bee”. This portrait of Jesus is typical of Mark’s account of the Gospel.
The first of the two traits comes in the last sentence, where we hear that Jesus “went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.” His activity in Galilee represents the years of public ministry leading up to Holy Week. Keep in mind that it’s only in Holy Week that Jesus fulfilled His vocation: the reason the Father sent Him into our world. He was not sent to be a preacher or exorcist per se. Instead, all of his words and deeds were preparatory, so that those He touched through His public ministry would follow Him to Calvary.
The second trait is heard in Mark’s observation that Jesus, “[r]ising very early before dawn, …left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” It’s hard for us to imagine what this prayer was like, since Jesus of course was God. Nonetheless, it’s obvious that if the Son of God chose to pray to and with His Father during His earthly years, you and I ought to do the same.