The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass
|Jesus Cures Simon's
PRAISE THE LORD WHO HEALS THE BROKENHEARTED (Psalm 147)
Our readings this Sunday focus on the human condition of suffering, the healing power of God and our response to it.
In our first reading (Job 7:1-4, 6-7), we hear part of Job's lament of his suffering. In a sense, Job mirrors all of human suffering and tries to understand it. It is a lament that could often be heard today.
Job spoke, saying: Is not man's life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings? He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages. So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me. If in bed I say, "When shall I arise?" then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn. My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle; they come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again.
In our Gospel reading (Mark 1:29-39), we hear of the suffering multitude flocking to Jesus for his healing touch and Jesus responds as only God could respond. We hear about the tender moment of Jesus grasping the hand of Simon's sick mother-in-law. He helps (raises) her up. Her response to Jesus' healing touch is to get up and offer her service to the Lord.
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
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." He told them, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
In our Epistle reading (1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23), St. Paul provides us a model of how we are to live our life of service to the Lord - freely, without recompense. His is an obligation, imposed upon him the Jesus himself. His servitude to the people and to the Lord is the essence of his freedom.
Brothers and sisters: If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.
Even in the midst of the "drudgery" of our lives and all of its suffering, we know that Jesus has already healed us of the ultimate human condition - the slavery to sin. By his sharing in our suffering, he has "raised us up" to new life through our Baptism. Our response, our obligation, is to get up and live our lives in service to the Lord and to others. As St. Paul tells us in today's Epistle, therein lies our freedom.
- Click Here to read, reflect and pray on the full readings for February 4, 2017