Work and prayer
February 9, 2019 Saturday, 4th Week in Ordinary Time 1st Reading: Heb 13:15-17, 20-21 Gospel: Mk 6:30–34
The Apostles returned and reported to Jesus all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, “Go off by yourselves to a remote place and have some rest.” For there were so many people coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a secluded area by themselves.
But people saw them leaving and many could guess where they were going. So, from all the towns they hurried there on foot, arriving ahead of them. As Jesus went ashore he saw a large crowd, and he had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began a long teaching session with them.
(Daily Gospel in the
When we are jobless, we hunt for work. When we are finally employed, we drag our feet to the workplace like every day is a blue Monday. Voltaire has a very positive idea about work. He wrote: “Work keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice, and need.” (Voltaire, Candide). St. Paul’s idea about the necessity of work is even more intriguing. He wrote: “If a man does not choose to work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thes. 3:10). Work used to be a curse we inherited from Adam and Eve. But Christ changed this when he came to earth as son of a carpenter. He sanctified work to become for us not just a means to ward off boredom as Voltaire wrote, but as source of our salvation.
But for work to be the source of our sanctification, we must offer it to the Lord. If we don’t, we end up like sacrificial lambs slaughtered at the altar of toil as we live to work instead of working to live. Margaret Fuller, author of “Summer on the Lakes” rightly observes: “Men, for the sake of getting a living, forget to live”. Life is supposed to be larger than our jobs, yet we create mammoth jobs that become the lions that devour our entire life. The only way to tame one such lion is to offer our working hours to the Lord. Only then will work become not just liberating but spiritually uplifting.
When work is overwhelming and time is scarce, the first to go is prayer. This is reducing prayer to work of the lowest kind. When we give up prayer because we are busy we are really saying that prayer is an insignificant kind of work which must give way to greater priorities. Treating prayer this way is booting God out, saying we can do it without him. Once God is out, the whole load falls directly upon us. Work consumes us until we can work no more. By this time, St. Paul need not protest if we eat. We’d be dead by then. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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