The gospel today continues Mark’s exciting description of
Jesus’ early ministry.
I’m struck by how the effectiveness of his teaching and healing
must have been a surprise to even himself! I feel this sense of
wonder and awe the new apostles must have felt when I watch the
young people I work with here at Creighton and see their ministries
unfold. I see God powerfully at work.
To better pray with today’s gospel, I follow Ignatius’
invitation to use my imagination and put myself in the scene. I
find myself identifying with Simon’s mother-in-law who is
ill. What follows is my prayer after meditating in this way.
Jesus, I’m suffering no fever, just a bit
down about my kids being all back in their respective cities of
work and study (and one in another continent as an exchange student!)
after loving Christmas gatherings and simple feasting in joy. In
these colorless days of winter in the city, I find myself envying
those who live with mountain vistas or lake or ocean vastness. I
feel walled-in and long for beauty.
You rouse me from my doldrums Jesus. You take my
hand and look into my eyes. Your presence is a warm invitation to
assess and celebrate my strengths. I see you have plenty for me
to attend to, Jesus. I rejoice in your presence and ministry in
these parts, for your active calling-forth of others to ministry
and your powerful teaching and healing work, your vision and hunger
for justice. I’ll get up, get going to serve you and my brother
and sister ministers. It is an honor to be part of your beloved
community and to take my turn in ministering to and with so many
in need around us.
I see you getting up early and taking the time to
renew yourself in prayer. Thank you for that witness too. Thank
you also for my companion in these empty-nest, cold, January days.
I’ll invite John to take a long walk tonight and defy the
ice and forces trying to keep us in!