The Gospel of Mark is often described as fastpaced, almost breathless in its narrative. At the start of his public ministry, Jesus is presented as always on the move. He teaches and drives out a demon in the synagogue, heals Peter’s mother-inlaw in Peter’s house, and attends to the ill and the demoniacs after sunset. We would expect him to extend his sleep in the morning to recover his strength, but no! Jesus rises very early before dawn and goes to a deserted place to pray. We imagine that this is his usual practice. Jesus finds his “food” — his nourishment — in communion with the heavenly Father in prayer. He prays as one who finds light, direction, and strength in his mission. He prays to know and accomplish God’s will. Simon finds him and excitedly reports that he has become very popular: everyone is looking for him. They can stay longer in Capernaum to bask on this popularity. Having known God’s will, Jesus tells his disciples that they have to move on.
Often, we say that because we are so busy in our job and in the apostolate, we have no more time to pray. But saints like Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed James Alberione say that the more pressing our concerns for the Lord, the more we need to spend longer time in prayer.
Gospel • MARK 1:29-39On 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.