February 9, 2019
by Mary Lee Brock
Creighton University's Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 328

Hebrews 13:15-17, 20-21
Psalms 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Mark 6:30-34

Praying Ordinary Time

I am tired.  Here in the middle of the United States the days are short and the temperatures are cold.  I am tired of stepping cautiously on icy sidewalks and scraping car windshields and putting on layers of clothing before heading outside.  I am tired of this Ordinary time in the liturgical year between Advent and Lent.  I am tired of being disappointed by members of my community, and tired of not being aware of how I am disappointing others.  I am tired of being overwhelmed by the multiple comforts in my life such as a steady paycheck, a warm and safe home, and engaging work when so many people have so few comforts.

Today as I read the Gospel from Mark I immediately relate to the exhaustion felt by the apostles.  As they had not even had time to eat, Jesus tells them to Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.  And like the apostles, I do not try to answer away my exhaustion but simply see it as my current condition.

As my prayer continues, I grow to appreciate the loving care Jesus shows the apostles.  Jesus must have been exhausted as well, yet he urged rest for those who have been serving with him.  What a gentle shepherd Jesus is during this exchange.

Jesus as shepherd is the main theme through all of the readings today, especially the beautiful and familiar Psalm 23.  A gift of reading scripture is each time I encounter the words new images and meaning spring forth.  Revisiting Psalm 23 today helps my exhaustion subside.  I pray for the desire to be open to Jesus as my shepherd.  Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.  Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life.

Usually I am an optimistic, high energy person and my prayers are often asking for guidance on how I can take action to better serve.  Today I trust Jesus and pray for grace to rest my body, mind, heart and soul.  I am called to appreciate the wisdom of keeping Sabbath.  I also trust that once I rest I can again be more present to my own desires for a deeper companionship with Jesus. And I pray to open myself to the good shepherding of Jesus.

The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.

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