Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday February 4, 2018
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 74

A Reading from the Gospel according to Mark
MK 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.

Salesian Sunday Reflection
Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Today’s Gospel tells us that in the midst of busyness, even Jesus saw a need to find a quiet place to pray. St. Francis de Sales also stresses the importance of practicing mental prayer in the midst of our worldly activities, and gives us a short simple method:

I especially counsel you to practice the prayer of the heart. Set aside some time each day, if possible early in the morning, when your mind is less distracted and fresher after the night’s rest. Place yourself in God’s presence. Remember that God is present in a most particular way in your heart and in the very center of your spirit. Do not hurry along and say many things but try to speak from your heart. A single Our Father said with feeling has greater value than many said quickly and hurriedly. Don’t be concerned about finishing the vocal prayer you intended to say. By often turning your eyes on Jesus in meditation, your whole being will be filled with him. You will learn his ways and form your actions after the pattern of his.

From your meditation gather a few thoughts that you liked best and are most adapted for your improvement. During the day frequently think of them. Make particular resolutions for your own correction. On that same day, we must try to carefully practice them and to seek occasions, small or great, to do so. Since prayer places our mind in the brilliance of God’s light and exposes our ability to make choices to the warmth of God’s heavenly love, nothing else so effectively purifies our mind of ignorance and our will of disordered affections. Meditation makes the plants of our good desires grow green and flourish, and quenches the disordered passions in our hearts. By keeping close to our Savior in meditation and observing his words, actions and affections, we learn by his grace to speak, act, and will like him.

(St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to a Devout Life.)