Praying the Word

January 22, 2020 Wednesday, Second Week in Ordinary Time-A

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51

Psalm 144

Mark 3:1-6

Looking around at them with anger, and grieved at their hardness of heart… Mk 3:5

Lord, today we read that you were, at the same time, angry and heart-broken over the people in the synagogue.  Some of them dared you to heal the man’s disability on the Sabbath. And when you did heal him, they had the evidence they needed to plot your death. Seeing their stubbornness and hardness of heart hurt, didn’t it?  They had made up their minds you were not from God and were a threat and had to be removed. They had not come to faith in you or your Father’s plan for their salvation.  To be rejected by those you love must have been discouraging.  Lord, I trust in you as my refuge and my deliverer.  I pray for those today who fail to realize how much you care for and love them.  Do not be angry with those who are slow to come to faith. Heal the withered hands of their hearts so they can be open to your grace and come to know, love and serve you.   Amen.

Praying the Word

January 21, 2020   Tuesday, Second Week in Ordinary Time-A   St. Agnes

1 Samuel 16:1-13

Psalm 89

Mark 2:23-28

“Not as man sees does God see…the Lord looks into the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7

Lord, I have to admit I so often make judgments about a person that I meet rather quickly. First impressions can have lasting consequences in my relationship with them.  But you encourage me to look beyond first impressions and a person’s outward appearance.  I am pretty good at putting on a good face to others and avoid showing anyone what I am like on the inside. But I can’t hide my inner self from you. You know me better than I know myself. You saw the potential in the unlikely youngest of the brothers, David. You saw the potential in Peter, Paul, Levi, and many, many others. Lord, help me see with the eyes of faith. Guide me not to rush to judgment on anyone because of appearance. There is always more to each of your children than meets the eye. Send me the grace today to look for the good in others and to discover the potential in their hearts.  Amen.

Praying the Word

January 20, 2020 Monday, Second Week in Ordinary Time-A   St. Fabian; St. Sebastian

1 Samuel 15:16-23

Psalm 50

Mark 2:18-22

 “Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” Mk 2:22

Lord, you came among us to shake things up.  One of the lessons you have for us today from Mark’s gospel is that blind obedience to rules and regulations, habitual ritual observance, and spiritual laziness are like old wineskins; brittle and prone to fail.  There is so much going on in our lives that it is so easy to fall into routine patterns of dividing up our day into: this time for God, this time for work, this time for ourselves.  Lord, I ask myself do I obey the rules out of fear of punishment or out of a longing to please you and to offer myself to you?  Do I pray out of habit or out of a sincere desire to connect with your heart?  Do I look for ways to do your will in all areas of my life or do I look for ways to get by with the least amount of effort?  Pour yourself into the new wineskin of my heart so that I may know you like a cherished friend,  Transform my day today into a day of praise and thanksgiving in everything I think, say and do.  Amen.

Praying the Word

January 19, 2020   Second Sunday in Ordinary Time-A

Isaiah 49:3, 5-6

Psalm 40

1 Corinthians 1:1-3

John 1:29-34

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”  John 1:29

Lord, John the Baptist was a big deal to many people of Israel back in his day.  His endorsement of you meant a lot.  When he saw you coming toward him he called you, not by your name, but the Lamb of God.  That reminded the people of the blood of the lamb that freed them from slavery in the days of Moses.  John also testified that his knowledge of you came as a divine inspiration.  Lord, today I reflect on how I know you.  Parents, teachers, and friends have told me about you.  I’ve read the bible and heard the sermons about who you are.  A lot of that is head-knowledge.  How do I know you in my heart?  How do I know you as an intimate friend?  How can I recognize your presence and action in my life?  Lord, open my eyes to your closeness and your passionate love and desire for me.  Help me to see you in the Mass, your word, and in the way life is lived by your faithful children.  Amen.

Praying the Word

January 18, 2020  Saturday, First Week in Ordinary Time-A

1 Samuel 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1

Psalm 21

Mark 2:13-17

And he got up and followed Jesus.  Mk 2:14

Lord, we have a saying:  “a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”  What did you see in the tax collector Levi?  Everyone else saw a traitor, a Roman collaborator and a despicable sinner. You, of course saw that too but you saw something else. You saw Levi’s potential.  You saw a heart ready for a new start. You saw talents and abilities that made Levi successful as a tax collector that you could use in your kingdom.  On Levi’s part I give him credit for taking the risk of leaving behind his prosperous life and taking the first step toward eternal life.  The first step or leap of faith can be the most difficult of all the steps. Thank you, Lord, for not holding my sins against me but seeing the good in me, the potential in me. You know better than I what I can become and what I am capable of. When Levi left his customs post to walk with you he didn’t have a clue what lie ahead for him.  Jesus, I trust in you to offer me the opportunity and the grace to follow you wherever you lead.  Amen.

Praying the Word

January 17, 2020   Friday , First Week of Ordinary Time-A

1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22

Psalm 89

Mark 2:1-12

Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him.  Mk 2:4

Lord, we admire the intentions of the cripple’s four friends. They brought him to you for healing but ran into a problem. The obstacle was the size of the crowd but they didn’t give up. Opening up the roof and lowering their friend through it was a radical deed of love. You recognized their faith and their daring perseverance immediately.  How often do I let small obstacles or inconveniences stop me from doing your work?  I know sometimes I have given up too soon because I was afraid or embarrassed to do something out of the ordinary.  Lord, you tested the faith of the man’s friends and they passed with flying colors.  I’ll bet you forgave their sins too.  May this story encourage me to persevere in doing good for those who may rely on me especially when it’s difficult. Help me to see your will and to trust that you will provide a path around any barriers.  Increase my faith to stay the course and dare to be bold.  May I work for what I pray for.  Amen.

Praying the Word

January 16, 2020   Thursday, First Week of Ordinary Time-A

1 Samuel 4:1-11

Psalm 44

Mark 1:40-45

Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper…  Mk 1:41

Lord, I know in your time lepers were isolated from all contact with the community. Because of their disease they couldn’t be near their family or neighbors.  To everyone at the time, physically touching them was out of the question, something no one would dream of.  But you felt so sorry for this man, who not only suffered from his disease but had to endure it alone, that you touched him. You could have healed him with a word.  Your disciples must have been stunned. When you look at me are you moved with pity for my leprosy?  As a sinner I too am in need of cleansing. You can heal me of my pride, self-centeredness, apathy, anger and resentment. You can heal my relationship with a family member with whom I am isolated. Dear Jesus, please touch me with your healing hand and soothe my fears and heal my guilty conscience.  Hold me close to you today for I have no one else who loves me as you do.  Amen.

Praying the Word

January 15, 2020  Wednesday, First Week in Ordinary Time-A       

1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20

Psalm 40

Mark 1:29-39

 “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10

Lord, it seems a lot of the time in my prayers I get this quote backwards. I seem to want to say: “Listen, Lord, your servant is speaking.”  I hope it doesn’t seem to be that way to you.  But if it does I know you understand and are patient with me while I pour out my heart to you.  It is so important to me to know you are listening and are interested in my every word, thought and feeling.  When you speak to me I need to listen as Samuel did. You speak to me in so many ways. The obvious is in your word in Holy Scripture. Not so obvious is when you speak in the ordinary events of my life.  You paint the sky each morning and evening with a beauty that says: “I am with you today/tonight and there is nothing for you to fear.” You get my attention with music, art and literature. A priest may speak your words in a homily. A friend may witness to your truth in a kind deed.  I may even hear your voice in disappointment, suffering or even disaster. Speak, Jesus, for your servant is listening.  Amen.

Praying the Word

January 14, 2020       Tuesday, First Week in Ordinary Time-A

1 Samuel 1:9-20

1 Samuel 2:1-8

Mark 1:21-28

In her bitterness she prayed to the Lord, weeping copiously… 1 Sam 1:10

Lord, waiting is a hard thing for many of us.  It is most difficult to suffer over the long term with no relief in sight.  Hanna anguished over her childlessness. She waited years for her prayer to be answered. The Jews waited many centuries for a Messiah.  Why must we wait so long for relief from whatever oppresses us?  Is waiting a part of your plan for us?  In your wisdom do you see what is best for us now and in the future?  Lord, my faith tells me you do indeed know when I am ready for your blessings. You allow me to persevere and to trust in your goodness and constant love for me.  Please be patient with me as I pour out my soul to you in tears and misery.  Allow me to be honest with you about my fears, frustrations and anxiety.  Jesus, I need your strength today while I wait on your blessings to come.  Give me the grace to wait.  When the time is right I am confident you will fulfill all my hopes and dreams.  Amen.

Praying the Word

January 13, 2020 Monday, First Week in Ordinary Time-A (St. Hilary)

1 Samuel 1:1-8

Psalm 116

Mark 1:14-20

Then they left their nets and followed him.  Mk. 1:18

Lord, your prophet John the Baptist was arrested by Herod for proclaiming the truth of God.  You saw the real dangers facing those who challenge the status quo.  Nevertheless, John’s absence was the starting point of your public ministry so you began to lead the people back to the Father. One your priorities were to gather a group of disciples around you that you could form into your early church.  You didn’t choose the wisest, the richest or the most powerful. You chose ordinary, uneducated fishermen. You saw great potential in these rough and hard working men. Did you see their dedication to their craft despite setbacks and empty nets?  Did you see a loyalty and a perseverance that would keep them faithful to their eventual mission?  Lord, I too have been chosen to be a disciple of yours.  What do you see in me that can be valuable to witness to your kingdom?  How can my gifts be of use to you today?  I offer to you my strengths for your cause.  I also offer my weaknesses for you to develop.  May I leave my nets behind and follow you today.  Amen.