Gotta Get Away: Mark 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue he 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.

As I pondered and prayed about what we could look at specifically in this section of scripture, I became overwhelmed with the options. We could talk about Jesus’ healing of Simon’s mother-in-law, and her service to Jesus and the others. What about the many healing’s of the townspeople and the exorcisms? But, no. I was led by the Spirit to delve into the richness of a sentence that seems to fade into the background as Jesus’ healing power and authority over demons are displayed.

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.

Isn’t this sentence so easily overlooked? Yet, it’s meaning is profoundly important for us today.

First, what strikes me, is that Jesus didn’t just want quiet; he wanted complete quiet! It wasn’t enough for him to be alone, praying in the house he was in or even outside on the back porch, or in the farthest point in the yard. He went to a deserted place where there would be no chance for interruption while in communion with his Father. WOW. If only I could commit myself to spending that kind of time with God. How much better a person (husband, father, employee) I would be.

Secondly, I see Jesus went on pursuit. He didn’t “stay” he left and went off. This example, given by our Lord himself, really sheds more light on other statements found in Sacred Scripture, such as I Ch. 28:9 which states: If you seek him, he will let himself be found by you; but if you abandon him, he will cast you off forever. David tells this to his son, Solomon as he prepares to build the Temple. Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, used similar words, seek and you shall find. Also in the book of Hebrews  we see we are rewarded for seeking God: But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (11:6).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly teaches us the importance of prayer in the life of a disciple. In paragraph 2725 we learn that not only is prayer a gift of grace, but a determined response on our part.

Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The “spiritual battle” of the Christian’s new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.

We certainly see Jesus living this out; in this section of scripture we’ve looked at as well as at other times in his life.

So, this week, let us determine a more serious attitude toward prayer. But let us move slowly, lest we over whelm ourselves and become discouraged if we can’t “live up to” our newly set goal.

  1. Find an “out of the way” place to pray.
  2. Do you pray ten minutes a day? Try going fifteen to twenty minutes.

There are plenty of things going on in our lives and certainly our country and world that need serious prayer, so we should never run out of topics. Maybe if we can increase our prayer time, and be more determined in our attitude toward our Heavenly Father, we can indeed act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ. In other words, if we truly live out our faith, maybe things not just in our own lives but also in our culture, will change.



2 Responses

  1. I think you meant quiet when you wrote…
    “First, what strikes me, is that Jesus didn’t just want quite; he wanted complete quite!”
    Don’t get me wrong, your blog has been very important and useful to me. So, i thank you!

  2. Thank you pola, for pointing this out to me. I am glad you have found this site useful.

    Blessings to you and yours.

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