29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. 32 That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34 And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. 35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38 He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” 39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. 40 A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, 44 saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
Today’s gospel in the daily office lectionary tells the story of Jesus getting busy, rolling up sleeves, getting to work being present and ministering to those in need. From Simon’s mother-in-law, to the many who were sick who were brought to him, to those possessed with demons, to the leper – Jesus keeps plugging away. But the salient point in the story for me, is found at verse 35. “In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” Jesus rooted all of his work in prayer. For being hunted down by his disciples and heading off to the neighboring towns where he cleans the leper, Jesus text time in quiet and solitude to pray and to seek direction.
Lent affords us all an opportunity to ask ourselves if we are tending to the spirit, tending to our relationship with God, tending to our relationship with one another. Who among us isn’t busy? Who among us doesn’t have a lot to accomplish? And who among us is taking time daily in solitude to pray, to seek direction, and to commune with God?
I pray that we may all fine time throughout Lent and beyond to root all of our work in prayer. Let us take a page out of the life and witness of Jesus. We all have much to do, we all have much we can accomplish, as did Jesus. We cannot be all things to all people, we cannot go nonstop. We must take time to step away. We must take time to commune with God. We must take time to pray. Our lives, too, should be rooted in prayer.