Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

We have Sunday readings difficult to understand. Oh Yes.  The first reading begins with a horrible quotation from the Book of Job.  Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?  Are not his days those of a hireling? Then it gets worse.  My months are full of misery.  I can’t wait to get to bed, then I can’t wait to get up. I shall not see happiness again. What a wonderful way to begin our Sunday![1]

The Book of Job is part of the Wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. Biblical wisdom literature often contrasts man’s work with God’s. Man is finite, his work is limited.  More than that, most often man’s work has no meaning whatsoever.  This work of man’s is contrasted with God’s work, where every action has purpose.  What the wisdom books are saying is that apart from that which comes from God and returns to Him, all is drudgery. Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (our gospel reading) was sick.  She had a fever. Jesus came and grasped her hand and helped her up. Her response to the touch of the Lord was to serve Him and His disciples. This was far more than performing her household tasks. What the Gospel writer was saying in this story of hurt and healing was something that all Christians recognize: when Jesus Christ touches us, we have no choice but to immediately enter into His service. That is the nature and power of His love. His love transforms us into a people of loving service.

It is obvious that the people in parishes understand this but why do we volunteer? Why do we feel obliged to make time to serve?  Because Jesus has touched us. And we have held on to the hand that has helped us out of our sickbeds, we have accepted his touch.  We have become disciples. Now we have no choice but to find ways to serve him.  We do this primarily by serving his presence in each other and by serving his presence in others throughout the world. He touches us, raises us out of my sickness and calls us to serve. What tremendous meaning and purpose we have in our lives.  Our lives don’t suffer from the drudgery of Job’s. Instead, we are like Paul who in the second reading became all things to all for the sake of the Gospel.

Amazing Grace we sing very often. Jesus has raised us up. We are no longer blind to his presence in the world.  We see. We see his presence in others, and He sees His presence in us. It is all good, this following of Christ.  We pray today that we might continue to be committed Christians, active disciples, loving people

[1] 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time B, February 8, 2015. Readings: Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Responsorial Psalm 147: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6; 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris