Let Me Go Back to Bed, Lord: Reflections on Today's Readings

I was struck by the readings at Mass this morning. If you have not had a chance to read them or hear them at Mass, you can find them here; I will be pulling excerpts below. 

In the first reading, we hear of the calling of Samuel. Samuel is studying under Eli, who has grown old and whose "eyes had lately grown so weak that he could not see." Thrice in one night, the Lord calls to Samuel. However, Samuel, being unfamiliar with the Lord, and living in a time when "a revelation of the LORD was uncommon and vision infrequent," thinks that the one calling to him is Eli. Three times, Samuel rises from his bed and answers at his name. 

Then, we hear the Gospel. Jesus cures Simon's mother-in-law; that evening, the disciples bring "the whole town" to the home of Simon and Andrew so that Jesus can cure their sick. The next morning, Jesus wakes to pray:
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
Jesus' prayer is cut short by his persistent followers. The disciples spent the previous night bringing dozens of sick and possessed to Jesus for healing; Jesus likely had little sleep between the healings and "rising very early"; Jesus intentionally goes off to a deserted place to be away from everyone. Jesus is probably exhausted and in need of some private time. But here are his disciples, urging him on. Jesus could tell them to go away, but instead he recognizes that he needs to do the Father's will and, at this point, His will is that Jesus evangelize the surrounding towns. So Jesus does. 

I understand that Jesus is Lord, but he is also human, and humans become tired. In the first reading, Samuel awakes three times at his name. How do we feel after a night of restless sleep? Or, as in the Gospel, a night of little sleep? Certainly not refreshed and prepared to do the Lord's will! Both of these readings sing to me, a tired soul. The Christian life can be downright tiring. To do God's will is rarely the easiest path. This morning, as I dressed for a busy day of preparing for my return to school, I listened to the song Worn by Tenth Avenue North, which speaks of tired and heavy hearts:
My prayers are wearing thin/Yeah, I’m worn/Even before the day begins/Yeah, I’m worn/I’ve lost my will to fight/I’m worn/So, heaven come and flood my eyes  
The most important part of this song is not the lament of exhaustion, but rather the decision to look to Heaven in our tiredness. Samuel is shaken from sleep by Heaven's call; Jesus must relinquish his precious alone time, prayer time, to do his Father's will. I have a lot to learn from these two readings. I am tired, but I must find rest in the Lord. 

Worn // Tenth Avenue North

1 comment:

  1. This is great-I was reflecting on that whole restless-sleep theme at Mass, too! It had never really hit me before, but it's a cool track of thought to go down. I am really amazed at Samuel's willingness to go to Eli when he is woken by the Lord's voice-even though he probably wanted to keep sleeping, he thought Eli needed him, so he went. I feel like this is really applicable in marriage and parenting, as well-because there will be all those times that one's spouse or children need you to drag yourself out of bed to serve them.


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