Surrendering Over Settling

January 14, 2021   Thursday of the First Week of Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 308)

Reading I   Heb 3:7-14
The Holy Spirit says:
Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
“Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion
in the day of testing in the desert,
where your ancestors tested and tried me
and saw my works for forty years.
Because of this I was provoked with that generation
and I said, ‘They have always been of erring heart,
and they do not know my ways.’
As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter into my rest.’”
Take care, brothers and sisters,
that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart,
so as to forsake the living God.
Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,”
so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.
We have become partners of Christ
if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.

Responsorial Psalm   95:6-7c, 8-9, 10-11
R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Forty years I was wearied of that generation;
I said: “This people’s heart goes astray,
they do not know my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my anger:
“They shall never enter my rest.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Alleluia   See Mt 4:23
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Mk 1:40-45
A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

By Delaney Rayner 

Grand and idealistic scenes swirl around my imagination when people ask me what I want to do with my life. As a college student, I am often asked to talk about what degree I am pursuing, followed by the walking-on-eggshells question of “And what do you want to do with that? … It’s okay if you don’t know.” 

Luckily for me though, I do know. I have plans of writing books, giving talks to thousands, travelling the world to proclaim the Good News, creating influential media to convert hearts back to the Lord. 

Despite my confidence in this plan to use my gifts for God’s glory I sometimes have to ground myself.  I have to be more like the leper in today’s Gospel. With humility, he approaches Jesus and says “If you wish, you can make me clean.” 

He doesn’t demand that Jesus clean him. 

He doesn’t ask Jesus why this has happened to him, nor does he doesn’t complain of feeling outcast or forsaken. He simply tells the Lord, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” 

His simple statement has a lot packed into it. He is absolutely submissive and cooperative to the Lord’s will. He doesn’t want to be cured if the Lord doesn’t will it. Then he recognizes the Lord’s power, affirming that if Jesus wants it, Jesus will make it happen. 

When the leper surrenders his plans to Jesus, Jesus delivers him something that he perhaps had never thought possible. Sometimes I have to remember, even with how grand and idealistic my own plans for my life are, that my heart truly doesn’t desire it if the Lord doesn’t.

God has not prepared for me a life where I am settling.

If I am cooperative with His will and acknowledge His power, He will deliver me a life beyond my wildest dreams.


Delaney Rayner is a Texas native currently a student at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is studying Communication Arts and Theology with the hope of fulfilling God’s call for her through media and ministry. Delaney can be found crafting Pinterest DIYs, belting Taylor Swift’s “folklore” in her car, or praying the rosary in her travel hammock. Whatever she finds beautiful, she photographs - mostly her friends and sunsets. Delaney is told that she is a little too passionate about fonts and St. Pope JPII, but doesn’t mind it.  Find her on Instagram here.


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