January 12, 2022
by Ann Mausbach
Creighton University's Education Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 307

Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20
Psalm 40:2 and 5, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10
Mark 1:29-39

Praying Ordinary Time

Is not enough to be busy. So are  the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
-Henry David Thoreau

I love this quote from Thoreau as so much of our lives are consumed by being busy. We have children and parents to take care of, we have a house  to clean and groceries to buy. We have big deadlines at work. This list is never ending. I think today’s gospel is, through Jesus’s example, showing us how to approach busyness. And as always is the case with God’s wisdom, he shows us how to navigate the duplicity inherent in living life in a way that serves.

First, this reading brings up the importance for us of availability.  I am sure Jesus was tired after a day at the synagogue, but he healed Simon’s mother-in-law by taking her hand. Then he had to help a whole cascade of folks long into the night. The definition of available is “of use or service; at hand.” That is exactly what Jesus did here, this wasn’t in his plans for the day, but he knew that this work mattered, heck, he was getting rid of demons. Going head to head with the kingdom of evil was God’s will for him so he made himself available. We need to ask ourselves what are we making ourselves available for? Are we reaching out to those in genuine need or are we centered on being available only to ourselves?

The second incredible thing that Jesus models for us here is balance. Being available and giving of yourself so completely can be tiring and take its toll. Jesus knows and understands that for him to balance his availability he needed quality time with God. The definition of balance is “to keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.” By going to a deserted place to pray Jesus is able to reflect and renew his spirit so he doesn’t fall. His close relationship with God allows him to keep going. Are we staying close to the source of all love in our busyness? 

Being available and yet having balance -- what a great example shared with us today.  When we make ourselves available to others and keep God close we might still be busy, but unlike the ants we will be busy doing what matters, loving and serving our Lord.

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