Harden Not Your Hearts

Readings for Sunday, February 1 — Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Ps 95: 1-2, 6-9; 1Corinthinians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28

Suggested Reflection Questions:

  • It’s not easy to be a prophet. It’s been said that a prophet is either believed or killed, and it’s also been said that a prophet is never welcomed in his or her own town. Have you ever had to play the role of a prophet? How did people react to you?

  • In today’s psalm, we hear the imperative to not harden our hearts. In what ways is your heart hard? Towards who? In what ways are you hard with yourself? What steps do you think you can take to soften your heart, and how can Jesus help you?

  • What makes you anxious? How does it feel to know that God wants to help you become “free of anxieties”? How might you hand over some of your anxieties to God?

  • The story of the exorcism in today’s Gospel can sound pretty weird to our modern ears. Still, even today we all experience a voice of darkness from within — whether it be the voice of greed, anger, self-centeredness, or self-hatred. What shadow or inner darkness do you need God to take from you?