PRAYER FOR THE WEEK
Jesus, when I get distracted, help me refocus on what I'm supposed to be doing! Amen.
Jesus went to the temple in Capernaum and taught people about God. He was much smarter than their usual teachers. Then a man with an evil spirit in him yelled, "Jesus, I know who you are -- the holy one of God!" Jesus said, "Quiet! Come out of him!" and the spirit left. Everyone was amazed: "Even evil spirits listen to Him!"
Any season can distract kids from school. In the spring, it's getting warmer and you're itching to be outdoors. In the fall, you're just coming back to school after the summer off, and it's hard to settle down. In winter, you're wishing you were out playing in the snow -- or hoping for a snow day, so you can stay in!
This week's Gospel (Mark 1:21-28) is about distractions. Jesus is trying to teach, and an annoying guy is heckling Him, trying to distract people from Jesus' message. The Gospel story even describes the man as having an "evil spirit" inside of him. (Who else would want to keep people from learning about God?)
When the snow is falling and you're distracted in class, it can be really hard to get focused again. Snow is beautiful. If it's fluffy, it's fun to walk through; if it's heavy and sticky, it makes great snowballs and snowmen. If you have to shovel it, you might get distracted just thinking about that! But you know you're focusing on the wrong thing. You'll deal with the snow when school is out.
The guy in the Gospel story who tried to distract people was pushing them to focus on the wrong thing, too: who Jesus was, instead of what He was teaching. Jesus didn't come into the world to act high-and-mighty; He didn't expect everyone to throw themselves at His feet. He came to make connections with people and get everyone to understand God loves them.
Distractions happen to everyone, whether you're in school, in church or just walking around in the world. It's how you handle them that matters. Jesus shushed the distracting man and got back to what He was there to teach: all about love!