Let us go elsewhere, … so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came. (Mark 1:37-38)
Today’s Gospel presents us with a day in the life of Our Lord - afternoon in the synagogue, then to Simon Peter’s House - in the evening receiving the sick - in the morning moving on to preach and heal somewhere else. He’s a workaholic!
To understand the Gospel, the Church often gives us an insight in the first reading, from the Old Testament. Here is the book of Job, we also hear about a day in the life:
Is not man’s life on earth nothing more than pressed service
…Lying in bed I wonder, ‘When will it be day?’
Risen I think, ‘How slowly evening comes!’
Restlessly I fret till twilight falls.
So which are you - the workaholic, relentlessly moving from task to task, need to need, place to place? Or the person who peers carefully through the curtains, praying for another ‘snow day’?
And it needn’t change so much if you don’t have to go to work anymore - after all, some of us get up in the morning eager to embrace the day … while others hide under the sheets, avoiding the day for as long as possible.
Now let’s not be mistaken by our readings today. Some people are so active that they never stop and think. Some are so busy that they forget the needs of the people around them, especially family and friends.
That is not the example of Jesus. Jesus is a man of action, but he is also a man of prayer. He embraces the crowds, but also goes off to a lonely place to pray. Preaching without prayer is empty, Activity without reflection is just busy-ness, as Shakespeare puts it: like ‘a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing’.
We don’t have to be busy, manic activists to please God. We do not need to wear ourselves into the ground to please him. But we must always remember that prayer is not another activity, but the powerhouse, the fuel, the motivation, which gives us our purpose and our focus, and from which all our action flows.