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Face Your Purpose

First Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20

During the time young Samuel was minister to the LORD under Eli,
a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent.
One day Eli was asleep in his usual place.
His eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see.
The lamp of God was not yet extinguished,
and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD
where the ark of God was.
The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”

Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
“I did not call you,” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am,” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”
At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am.
You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.
So Eli said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the LORD came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.
Thus all Israel from Dan to Beersheba
came to know that Samuel was an accredited prophet of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 40:2 AND 5, 7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
Blessed the man who makes the LORD his trust;
who turns not to idolatry
or to those who stray after falsehood.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me.
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Gospel: Mark 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee.

NAB

jan 13-2

Have you ever gotten up early to spend some time in prayer or, I don’t know, a shower perhaps, only to find yourself, ahem, pursued?

I read today’s Gospel and I was like, “PREACH Lord Jesus.”

The irony wasn’t lost on me that the Lord had just spent the previous day curing literally the entire town, driving out demons, staying up all night with a nursing baby, etc. and then He rises very early to get a little quality time in with His Father, and what do you know?

The disciples come after Him.

Now, because I am not God, my response in this scenario would have been a little different.

He looks at them, these intrusive disciples. And He doesn’t shriek about being overwhelmed or overworked. He doesn’t angrily slosh His coffee mug down on the counter and heave a persecuted sigh and start the morning routine . . . nope. He gets up.

He gets up and says, in effect, let’s go. This is what I came for. Next village, next synagogue, next flock of demons.

Jesus recognized both the urgency of His mission and His very human need to regroup and spend time in silence. And when the two collided, He willingly submitted His secondary vocation to His primary responsibility. Jesus, after all, was not called to the contemplative, cloistered life either.

Born into a family, living in community with a group of a dozen other men, traveling from town to town meeting and serving and breaking bread with hundreds and hundreds of people. His life was full, and the demands placed on Him were intense. And He looked them in the eye and said “for this purpose have I come.”

Would that I could say the same to every midnight feeding, every sibling throw down, every disappointing setback visited upon my perfect plans by some needy human in my life.

Lord, show me my purpose from Your perspective, and give me the grace to recognize it when it intrudes upon my quiet time.

photo credit

Jenny Uebbing is a freelance writer and a blogger and editor for Catholic News Agency. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Dave and their growing family. You can find out more about her thoughts on Catholicism, sex, politics and parenting here

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