Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 147:1-6; 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39

First Reading: Job’s story of restlessness, sleeplessness, and sadness is the story of many people. His reflections on life’s drudgery, however, are not his entire story. While he never answers the question why God seems to permit suffering, his experience teaches us that God is faithful.

Psalm: Today’s psalm is a psalm of praise. God’s goodness and graciousness are signs of his faithfulness to us as we live out our lives.

Second Reading: When reading today’s second reading, we might imagine Paul to be a second John the Baptist! He speaks with passion. He feels compelled to preach. He clearly calls others to follow by professing belief in Jesus Christ and acting on that faith.

Gospel: Today’s Gospel is another passage about healing which begins with the individual healing of Simon’s mother-in-law and then narrates the healing of many in the entire town.

After days of curing the sick and driving out demons, he continued traveling throughout Galilee, helping people. Jesus knows the need is great and his message and ministry is urgent, and he calls his followers to act with the same passion for the sake of the Gospel.

Reflection: Like those in today’s Gospel reading who come to Jesus for healing, we all come to Jesus with expectations. The challenge is to move beyond our expectations to what Jesus really wants to give us—the Good News of salvation. Jesus’ Presence to us today and his healing hand do not assure us that we will never suffer. Human life is full of suffering—physical, emotional and spiritual. The new life and hope Jesus brings by preaching the Good News assures us, however, of having the strength to keep the suffering in perspective. Jesus assures us that suffering belongs to this life, but this is not all there is to life. This is the Good News he preaches.

Most of us won’t go out to neighboring towns to preach like Jesus, but we need to allow Jesus’ Presence to transform us so that our world can know of his transforming power. How can we do this? We can smile a simple thank you to the tired cashier in the supermarket; bite our tongue rather than snap at the rambunctious children; doing something thoughtful for someone when it is not expected; or offer assistance to the poor or brokenhearted. Like Jesus, we can be a living Gospel, the Good News in action. We are the good News when we, like Jesus, take time in prayer to encounter him, grow in our love for him, draw strength from him.

Question for Reflection: How can I make Jesus’ Presence more visible in my discipleship?

© 2015, Scott W. Eakins. All rights reserved.

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