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First reading 1 Samuel 3:1-10,19-20

‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’

The boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli; it was rare for the Lord to speak in those days; visions were uncommon. One day, it happened that Eli was lying down in his room. His eyes were beginning to grow dim; he could no longer see. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying in the sanctuary of the Lord where the ark of God was, when the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ Then he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli said, ‘I did not call. Go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down. Once again the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ He replied, ‘I did not call you, my son; go back and lie down.’ Samuel had as yet no knowledge of the Lord and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. Once again the Lord called, the third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli then understood that it was the Lord who was calling the boy, and he said to Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if someone calls say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
  The Lord then came and stood by, calling as he had done before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’
  Samuel grew up and the Lord was with him and let no word of his fall to the ground. All Israel from Dan to Beersheba came to know that Samuel was accredited as a prophet of the Lord.
 

Responsorial Psalm 39(40):2,5,7-10

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.
 
I waited, I waited for the Lord
  and he stooped down to me;
  he heard my cry.
Happy the man who has placed
  his trust in the Lord
and has not gone over to the rebels
  who follow false gods.
 
Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.
 
You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
  but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
  Instead, here am I.
 
Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.
 
In the scroll of the book it stands written
  that I should do your will.
My God, I delight in your law
  in the depth of my heart.
 
Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.
 
Your justice I have proclaimed
  in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
  you know it, O Lord.
 
Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.
 

Gospel Mark 1:29-39

He cast out devils and cured many who were suffering from disease

On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.
  That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.
  In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.
 
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The necessity of prayer

Jesus was a busy person. He healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, and later, many others brought to Him all who were sick for healing. Yet,  He found time to go off to a lonely place to pray and re-centred Himself in the Father’s love. However, in the gospel passage, Peter and the  rest of the disciples did not seem to appreciate Jesus’ action of going off to pray. Peter told Jesus, “Everybody is looking for you”. With these  words, Peter seemed to express his desire for Jesus to get busy meeting the needs of the people. Yet, the need to be in solitude with God  the Father took the central place in the life of Jesus.
 
In our busyness, do we feel the need to pray? Today, let us once again recognise the importance of spending time with Jesus and opening ourselves to receive His presence of love and peace. It is from prayer that we find the inner energy to put ourselves to be at the service of others.
 
Question for reflection:
Do I make time and space for prayer?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr. Sandra Seow FMVD.