This week, I’ve heard the Gospel reading twice- once earlier when reading Perfectly Yourself by Matthew Kelly, and again at church today.
The Short Version
After a long day of performing miracles, Jesus arose in the morning and went to a quiet place to say his prayers. Simon and other friends followed him to say that everyone was looking for him. But Jesus said “Let us go on to nearby villages, that I may preach there also, for this purpose I have come.”
Why this is important
There are some amazing feelings on the earth, and one of the most prominent is making a difference doing something you love. When you improve the world in your own way, you deserve enormous encouragement and support. Sometimes this support can go further. If we’re effectively using talents, charisma, humor, or intelligence, we gain popularity, power, money, and praise. These are all positive benefits of walking with God. However, as humans we don’t always handle them well. These feelings make us high and elated, and eventually they become our end goal.
Once you start focusing on all these side effects of being awesome, you start to lose track of your goals. Popularity, money, and glory can become the focus, rather than doing Gods calling, and they become the priority over following our passions. We become so addicted to these that we can lose our sense of self and purpose. They ARE the purpose. We have all experienced this on some level. We think we earned this, and we deserve all the credit. We can all think of one or two famous individuals who experienced this path to an extreme.
In response, there are two things God can do. He can let you go on your own free will, and perhaps you will continue to receive all this glory and recognition. But soon you will find yourself empty, and alone and wanting more and more. That is because with what you are gaining, you are losing God. God is the one who was making you feel fulfilled in your talents to begin with.
The other thing God can do is take it away. He can take away those rewards, he can even take away those talents that he gave you. He can take away everything. In those moments, God is calling you to come back to Him. During the darkest times in our lives, God is asking you to take a step again towards Him, towards those fulfilling times when you are doing his work.
On a positive note, God is not here to restrict you or to take away your happiness. All of your blessings and happiness come from Him. He loves you and wants you to live with such a deep sense of joy that most of us can’t fathom. When we start to chase our own glory, we’re slipping into temptation, and false joy. Put God first and attribute all of your successes to Him, and continue to seek His guidance every day, so that you will know the difference between real peace and fake peace. Money, fame, and power all come from God. They are positive and not inherently evil. It’s the love of these things that are evil. They are just easy to love.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus shows us that we can find a deep sense of joy just by doing the jobs we are called to do. Sometimes this comes through work, or other joys and talents we have in life. We should do those jobs for the sake of doing them. This will create a sense of peace, calm, and wisdom that will remain with you for the rest of your life, and perhaps you will receive extra bonuses as well.
Mark 1:29- 1:39
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.
Mark 1:29- 1:39