Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 8, 2015
Reading 1 Jb 7:1-4, 6-7
Responsorial Psalm Ps 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
Reading 2 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23
Gospel Mk 1:29-39
Do you sometimes feel like Job? Sometimes work can be an endurance challenge. Maybe we wake up tired or find that we have a cold and no energy. Maybe we are in a stressful time at work. When computer systems change or we find our computer mysteriously just quit working is no fun. Perhaps we were out moving snow and tweaked our back and now every movement includes some pain to remind us how good we had it before the pain. Suffering is an inherent part of the human condition. Job says, “I shall not see happiness again.” But he did find happiness again and so shall we. On Friday morning the first reading was from Hebrews and included verse 5 from chapter 13, “Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never forsake you or abandon you.’” When we are struggling we need to remember that God will never forsake us or abandon us. We can abandon God but God will not abandon us. God does not abandon us.
After healing the man with the unclean spirit in the synagogue, Jesus walks a short distance to the home of Simon and Andrew where he is told of the sickness of the mother of Simon’s wife. We do not know anything of Simon’s wife. Jesus goes to Simon’s mother-in-law and without fear of becoming sick himself he takes her by the hand and helps her up. Immediately the fever left her and she felt so good that she looked after their needs. The word used is the same word that is used for the ministry of a deacon.
Now that it is evening and the Sabbath is over the people helped carry the sick and those possessed by demons to Jesus. He cured the sick of many diseases and drove out demons in others. People were wondering if this was a sign that the messianic era had begun. Many people thought that the Messiah would come as a military hero or as a king who would rule the world. Jesus told the demons to keep quiet when he drove them out of people because the people would not yet understand what kind of Savior he would be. He came to be Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God, with healing and forgiveness for sinners.
Even as Jesus was busy healing and preaching, doing the Father’s Will, Jesus still realized the importance of keeping his relationship to the Father fresh and renewed each day in prayer. A good teacher, Jesus offered this example for all who would follow him. Times of quiet prayer, away from the demands of ministry, enable disciples to be in the presence of God, to evaluate, reassess and focus anew on their direction and goals. Today we would keep a relationship current with a phone call, a text message, with face book, with a tweet or using skype. Jesus got up early, while it was still dark, and found a deserted place to pray. With daylight the people returned to the house of Simon and Andrew looking for Jesus but he was not there. When the disciples found Jesus, Simon told Jesus, “Everyone is looking for you.” The verb used – zetein –means a misguided or even hostile sort of seeking. Mark underscored the fact that Jesus purpose had yet to be truly appreciated.
Jesus wants to move on to other villages to heal and preach. He is on a journey to bring more people the message of salvation. We too are invited to grow in faith and to be witnesses of faith to others. Pray that you can become an instrument of God’s healing power. All things are possible through our openness to God’s Holy Spirit in our lives. Look for opportunities to do an act of random kindness for another. Do it in the name of Jesus.