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January 18, 2019 – Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

The Healing of a Paralytic Mark 2:1-12 The crowd surrounding Jesus is such that four friends decide the only way to get their paralyzed friend close is to carry him on his mat up to the roof of the dwelling and lower him into the room. This is a genuine act of faith, acknowledged by Jesus through his words and action. Prayer: This is a powerful example of what it means for me to be instrumental in bringing others closer to you.

January 17, 2019 – Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot

The Cleansing of a Leper Mark 1:40-45 In today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a leper. Though an outcast, the man approaches Jesus, showing the trust he has in Jesus’ healing power. Jesus instructs him to tell no one, but the man’s excitement gets the best of him. Prayer: Let us pray for all those afflicted by illness. May they find strength, hope, and healing.

January 16, 2019 – Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

The Cure of Simon’s Mother-in-Law/Other Healings/Jesus Leaves Capernaum Mark 1:29-39 Jesus’ visit with Simon’s mother-in-law is the second sign of the inbreaking of God’s kingdom. In the previous passage he cast out the demon by his word. He touches Simon’s mother-in-law, and she is cured, immediately and completely. By evening, the whole town gathers. In the morning he rises early and goes off to pray before continuing to preach and teach throughout Galilee. Prayer: You minister selflessly, balancing well the wholeness of doing and being in the presence of the Father. I pray to do the same.

January 15, 2019 – Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

The Cure of the Demoniac Mark 1:21-28 Mark notes that Jesus teaches with authority, an authority not possessed by the scribes — a fact which disturbs them. His teaching does have a powerful effect on his listeners. They are astonished and amazed at his casting out of the demon. The news of the events in this single day of Jesus’ ministry is carried throughout Galilee. Prayer: Would I have followed you had I realized where your mission was taking you and where it would take me?

January 14, 2019 – Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry/The Call of the First Disciples Mark 1:14-20 John has been arrested. Jesus’ work begins. His compelling yet challenging words, “repent and believe in the Gospel,” summarize his entire message. He calls four, and they respond immediately by following him. Prayer: When you called me the first time, I am not sure my response was as immediate as Simon, Andrew, James, and John. I am not even sure I realized that it was you calling me. I know I did not drop everything and follow immediately. Thank you for your patience.

January 13, 2019 – The Baptism of the Lord

The Preaching of John the Baptist/The Baptism of Jesus Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 The hopeful expectation of the people causes John to remind them of the difference between his role and his baptism and that of Jesus. It is a striking contrast made even more clear by God’s voice naming Jesus his beloved Son. Prayer: Rather than focusing on the “what ifs” of tomorrow, may I be filled with the hope that comes with your promise to walk with me, hold me, carry me until you return.

January 12, 2019 – Saturday after Epiphany

Final Witness of the Baptist John 3:22-30 The ministries of John and of Jesus overlap briefly. Some followers are confused, but John reminds them that, from the beginning, he has been humbly preparing the way for one far greater than he. Prayer: I pray fully to understand what it means to decrease in order to allow you to increase in me. All too often I let my ego take control.

January 11, 2019 – Friday after Epiphany

The Cleansing of a Leper Luke 5:12-16 We can only imagine what it means to be “full of leprosy.” Was the disease so advanced? Was the leper’s appearance so repulsive? Jesus does not hesitate to go to the man and give his healing touch. He breaks through all physical and social prohibitions to help this man. Prayer: May we be mindful this day of all who have been pushed to the fringes of society and have the courage to take them by the hand and draw them into our embrace.

January 10, 2019 – Thursday after Epiphany

The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry/The Rejection at Nazareth Luke 4:14-22 Jesus returns home and to the synagogue to worship. He reads from the Prophet Isaiah about the promise made to Israel. He breaks open the scripture passage by revealing that he is the one promised, the Messiah who will usher in a new age. Those present are amazed at his words, but that will soon turn. Prayer: How often doubt and fear encroach on the truth and hope for all that has been promised. Keep me focused on you.

January 9, 2019 – Wednesday after Epiphany

The Walking on Water Mark 6:45-52 The miraculous feeding of five thousand people followed by Jesus walking toward his disciples on the turbulent waters of the sea should be all that is necessary to bring clarity to the disciples’ understanding. They’re not there yet. Their hearts are hardened by fear and doubt. Prayer: Fear creates its own blindness to the truth. Sometimes it is easier to cave in to fear rather than to embrace and proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all. I pray for courage.