Second Week of Ordinary Time: Jan. 16-22, 2011

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, "You are the Son of God." - Mark 3
Second Week of Ordinary Time|The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time offers us beautiful readings. From the Prophet Isaiah: "I will make you a light to the nations..." In John's Gospel John the Baptist and his followers see Jesus as he 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.'"|Monday is the Memorial of Saint Anthony, abbott. Friday is the Memorial of Saint Agnes, virgin and martyr.|The first reading this week continues with the Letter to the Hebrews. Written to inspire and encourage the community in its faith, he exhorts them "not become sluggish, but imitators of those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises."|As we continue Mark's Gospel on the weekdays, Jesus is asked why his disciples don't fast. He challenges the religious leaders to have a completely open mind and heart to his teaching because "new wine is poured into fresh wineskins." Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, bringing a new freedom. It is only chapter 3 in the gospel, but we already see the tension with religious leaders building. Because Jesus heals a withered hand on the Sabbath, the Pharisees seek to kill him. Jesus withdraws and people from the surrounding regions come to him, and even the demons know who he is. Jesus names twelve Apostles to be with him, to preach and to drive out demons. Jesus' relatives think he's "out of his mind" because so many people are coming to him that he can't even eat.|The Third Sunday of Ordinary Time brings us to a cycle of Matthew's gospels during every Sunday of Ordinary Time this year. This week we see the call of the first disciples as Jesus stops Andrew and his brother, Peter on the beach. "'Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men'. At once they left their nets and followed him."
Daily Prayer This Week|Ordinary Time is the longest Season of the Church year. Week after week, we are following the scriptures, and learning from them. It is important to focus our desires early in the day and talk with the Lord throughout the day, in the background of our busy lives. This is how we become "Contemplatives in Action" and find intimacy with God without leaving the context of the real circumstances of our lives.|Sometimes we protest: "I don't have time to pray." But if we change our focus to the moments we have free, we find ourselves surprised at the time we really do have. There are dozens of times in all of our days during which our minds are occupied with something: a song, re-playing the last event, practicing a conversation with someone, having an imaginary argument with someone, thinking through the "to do" list of the day. We can learn to fill these times with whatever we choose. If we choose to let it be about our relationship with our Lord, it transforms our lives.|It all begins with our mornings. This week, when we first get up and perhaps for a few moments in the shower or getting dressed, let's tell the Lord that what we desire today is to be more conscious that what we do this day responds to his call to us to be his disciple. Then, during the day, in those moments while driving or shopping or walking down the hall to a meeting, we can talk with God about how we are living our call in this or that activity we are engaged in. That conversation may get more detailed and specific in this or that set of events.|Each evening, for even a few moments, we can review our day's momentary conversations, recognizing the moments of real connection and grace and giving thanks for them, and resolving to take even greater advantage of these opportunities the next day.|Dear Lord, at times, my heart is quite sluggish. Give me hope today. Lift my spirits and give me perspective. When I find myself stiff and inflexible, make me into a new wineskin to receive the alive, new wine with which you wish to fill me. And let me be open to your call to discipleship today. What are the opportunities to preach your Word today? Where can I drive out demons, rather than sit with their discouragement and division? Please fill my home, my workplace, my heart with your Spirit, that I might join you in bringing good news for the poor.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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