To prepare for Sunday Mass it is a good idea to read and give thought to the readings in your missal or Bible. Here are some questions to ponder.
First Reading [Deuteronomy 18:15-20] Does God raise ordinary people from our midst to become prophets? Is there a cause for which you might become a prophet?
Second Reading [1 Corinthians 7:32-35] "I should like you to be free of all worry" Is it wrong to worry – or simply unpleasant?Does following Christ involved not worrying?
Gospel [Mark 1:21-28] Jesus "taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes." In what way did Jesus teach with authority and how were the scribes different?
I wonder why the man in this Sunday's gospel who was possessed by an unclean spirit referred to himself as "us" and not "me". It could be that he had developed so many personalities which show themselves on different occasions that it was difficult to know who he was in himself. This could take place not only in the different faces he presented to people, but also in the man himself, his real self being submerged in other desires and ambitions. We all experience something of that in our different intentions and desires. Supposing you decide to give up eating sweet things for the sake of your health and then someone says to you, "Have some more chocolate cake – you know, you really want it." What do you really want? Can we want opposite things at the same time? I need to stop and reflect sometimes what I really want in my heart of hearts, knowing very well that other attractions will also present themselves. I have to ask myself, "What do I want to want?"
Because we live at so many different levels it is vital to stop occasionally and consider what matters most. Our life has to be lived for the most part at a more superficial level. When a man or woman goes to work, at the back of their mind they may have the intention of doing this to support the family, or even to give praise and service to God, but at the forefront of their minds is getting on with the work in hand.
To be single-minded in the service of God does not mean to be without other desires and other hopes, but my wanting to be in step with Christ must dominate over everything else. I want the love of Christ to be so dominant so that it enriches every other relationship that I have.