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James Martin, S.J.January 27, 2020
Photo by Madeleine Ragsdale on Unsplash 

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Now that we are well into Ordinary Time, may I make a suggestion for your prayer? One of the practices of prayer that I do every day is to pray with the Gospel reading for the day. What does that mean? Well, every day the church selects a series of readings: usually one from the Old Testament or the Letters of St. Paul; then a psalm, sometimes a second reading, but then always a Gospel passage. And each year the Church—depending on the year, or “cycle” that we’re in—uses a different Gospel, so that we can work our way through the whole Gospel, with time out for special Feast Days. This year we’re using the Gospel of Mark. It’s the earliest Gospel written, and to my mind it’s earthy and exciting and fast moving. It seems in Mark’s Gospel, that Jesus is always doing something “immediately.” “Immediately he and his disciples got into a boat…” “Immediately Jesus went to this town or that town…” Mark’s Jesus is a man, and a God, in a hurry. 

So now that we’re still near the beginning of the liturgical year, why not start praying with the Daily Readings every day? Just imagine yourself in those readings, with as much vividness as you can. Picture yourself standing beside Jesus as he’s calling the First Disciples, or healing someone or preaching the Good News. Let yourself enter the story and see where God might want to take you. Allow yourself to be led through the coming year by St. Mark, who wants nothing more than for you to meet Jesus in his Gospel.

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