They were fishermen. Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.

Mark 1

Creighton University Online Ministries
Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer
First Week of Ordinary Time: Jan. 12-18, 2020

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The First Week of Ordinary Time

Sunday is the The Baptism of the Lord. We hear the Lord say in the first reading from Isaiah, "Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit." Those words are echoed in Matthew's Gospel, "“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” The Baptism is the feast that marks the end of the Christmas season. We begin 34 weeks of "Ordinary Time," which are all of the weeks outside of the Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter seasons. Ordinary Time will continue until Ash Wednesday on February 26.

Friday is the Memorial of Saint Anthony, abbot.

During the weekdays, we begin a three-week cycle of captivating readings from the First Book of Samuel. We read of Samuel's mother, Hannah, who promises the Lord, "if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the LORD for as long as he lives." Samuel hears a call from the Lord and responds, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” An epic battle against the Philistines ends in devastating losses for Israel and the capture of the Ark of the Covenant. In his old age, Samuel rules Israel and the elders ask Samuel to appoint a King to rule them. Samuel meets Saul. "When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD assured him,“This is the man of whom I told you; he is to govern my people.'”

For the next few weeks, until the beginning of Lent, the weekday gospels are from Mark's Gospel. Mark offers us a look at the beginning of Jesus public ministry. Jesus calls his first disciples, fisherman at work: Simon and Andrew, then James and John. "Then they left their nets and followed him." He drives out evil spirits and heals the sick. He hears the cry of the leper: “If you wish, you can make me clean," and Jesus, "moved with pity" heals him. Jesus extends an invitation to the despised tax collector, Levi: "Follow me."

The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time offers us beautiful readings. From the Prophet Isaiah: "I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant... I will make you a light to the nations..." In John's Gospel we see the story of John the Baptist and his followers walking down the beach as Jesus walks toward them. John says, "“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’


Daily Prayer This Week

In this first week of Ordinary Time, we might find ourselves feeling a little let-down after the Christmas season, especially in parts of the world where it seems cold and dark most days. This is where we can ask for the grace to let the stories of the gospels come alive in our hearts.

The vivid narratives of this week's gospel are packed with stories of Jesus' entering into the lives of real people and touching them in extraordinary ways. These are not far away stories, but ones that have a real meaning for us. This is a week of invitation from Jesus to us, with two invitations for us to ponder in our hearts this week.

Jesus encounters Levi, a Jewish tax collector. Because of his profession, he was probably wealthy but he has humiliated his family and made himself a pariah to most of those around him. Jesus' response to this "outcast" was to invite him to be one of his closest disciples - and to dine at his house.

In our own lives we may find a loneliness or separation from people in our family or others in our lives. We have parts of our lives that are dark and embarrassing and seem unchangeable. It is into this very darkness and discomfort that Jesus extends the same invitation to us - "Follow me." This clear and personal call to us is from Jesus who already knows us and our failings and yet asks us to be with him. We can hear this invitation more clearly if we can be touched with awareness of our own failings and understand more deeply how much we need a savior in our lives. It is then that our hearts open to accept this invitation.

The Sunday gospel is a warm story of Jesus calling two more apostles, asking them, and us, "What are you looking for?" This is a good week for us to contemplate with Jesus, what we are looking for and how much we want to turn and follow him. We can pray to Jesus for the strength to leave the patterns and habits of our lives that so often turn us away from him and ask for the grace to make a new beginning in our lives. If we can sit with our hands open in humility, we can accept that we can't do this on our own, but know in our hearts that with the help of God, nothing is impossible.

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