Note: These Sunday & Holy Day Gospel Reflections are written so that mothers may prepare for Holy Mass in advance either as a small group or individually (especially since we are so often necessarily distracted during Mass itself).
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.
Jesus's purpose is the same today as it was two thousand years ago. He wishes to teach us, heal us, and conquer the demons that plague us. If we only believe, our lives can be so transformed by His tremendous and passionate love for us! In today's Gospel, the whole town was gathered at the door, and the whole town was healed by being in the presence of the Lord.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said ~
"In the silence of our hearts, God speaks of His love;
with our silence, we allow Jesus to love us."
In order to be taught, healed, and purified, we must cultivate the habit of silence in our lives. Perhaps this means extended prayer (more than 20 minutes) in silence at home or in a chapel or church. Perhaps this means doing more listening to others around us throughout the day. Perhaps this means holding our tongue every time we wish to speak and asking the Lord if it is His will. It means putting ourselves in the presence of God in a deliberate, and silent, way.
God is the friend of silence. Our world is full of noise. Some of it is unavoidable, but much of it is by choice. We have the radio, television, mp3, iPod, CD-player, and internet noise. We have traffic and sirens and horns. We have endless chattering of people on cell phones that hook to our ears or even the endless chattering of people about nothing important at all when they should be doing something more important. The noise of our families, our friends, our God are the noises we should treasure.
Even Jesus in this Gospel, between healing and preaching, wakes before dawn and goes to a deserted, quiet place to pray. He does not naturally find the time for such prayer; he must get up early! This is an example for us. There is no way the Lord can truly reach our hearts if we are not spending time with Him in silence.
Yes, as mothers, we have children. They tend to be noisy (an understatement). But, we have to make something work for us. Maybe we wake up early or pray when they are in bed. Maybe we take some time during naps or videos to go to God. Maybe we drop your children off at a friend's or family member's on a regular basis to allow us to go to daily Mass or Adoration. These are sacrifices, but they are necessary in our noisy world today.
Jesus wants to speak to our hearts. He wants to set us free from anything that traps us and prevents us from uniting ourselves fully to Him in love. All He really wants to do is love us and He does, but with silence, His love can be more fully received and more readily recognized. Count up the hours. How much silence with God have you spent this week?