Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.

Mark 2

Second Week of Ordinary Time: Jan. 17-23, 2010

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Second Week of Ordinary Time

On the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, a beautiful reading from Isaiah promises vindication which will “shine forth like the dawn.” In the First Letter to the Corinthians, we are reassured that each of us has different gifts of the Spirit. “There are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” The Wedding Feast of Cana is the centerpiece of John's Gospel. His mother told the servants to follow his orders and Jesus performed his first public miracle “and so revealed his glory.”

In the First Book of Samuel we hear God's rejection of Saul as king. Then Samuel anoints the youngest of Jesse's sons, the shepherd boy David, as king. David kills the Philistine, winning victory for the people, in the name of the Lord. Saul becomes jealous of David and plans to kill him but Saul's son, Jonathan, changes his mind. David does not kill Saul when he finds him alone in a cave but lets him go. Saul is killed in a battle and David grieves.

As we begin Mark's Gospel 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 three in the gospel, but because Jesus heals a withered hand on the Sabbath, the Pharisees already 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 in Ordinary Time begins to take us through Luke's Gospel. We will follow it each week until the Lent and Easter seasons begin. It introduces Jesus as returning to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit” where he goes to the synagogue and teaches from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” He ends with the stunning words “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

Daily Prayer This Week

Ordinary Time is the longest Season of the Church year. This year we have several weeks of Ordinary Time before Lent begins February 17. These weeks between the Christmas season and Lent are an important time to continue to work on our habits of focusing our desires early in the day and talking 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 our real lives.

How do we do that with the hectic pace of our lives? We hear people say “I don't have time to pray.” It isn't about finding more time but more focus in our day with God. With this type of focusing and active consciousness, 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 of how what we do this day is responding to his call to me 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 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.

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