|By Angela (Lambert) Jendro|
February 4th, 2018 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel of Mark 1:29-39 NAB
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.
Everyone encounters suffering in some form. Whether physical sickness, the sickness of a loved one, spiritual or emotional sickness from Satan’s lies and those of the secular culture, the pain of divorce or the loss of a job, or just the “drudgery” of life Job complained of in the first reading (Job 7:1). Even worse, underlying every difficulty is the grating anxiety to find an escape, and the fearful suspicion there may not be one.
Science, medicine, psychology, exercise, achievements, and vacations can only provide a partial remedy. Escapes into addiction only worsen the problem.
It has always stuck me how many times Jesus says, “Peace be with you” together with His admonition to “Be not afraid.” Jesus, both man and God, has experienced our suffering and even our anxiety. He has compassion for our weakness and reaches out with His divine power to save us. As David proclaimed in today’s Psalm,
|He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
Jesus, the Word of God, through whom all things came to be (John 1:3), came to heal the wounds of sin and restore us to wholeness. Moreover, because God always gives in abundance, Jesus imparted gifts upon us even greater than those lost by Adam and Eve (CCC, par. 420).
Jesus Christ not only heals the brokenhearted, He embraces them in His own Divine Love. The lonely He makes children of God and their souls His dwelling place. A Christian can never be truly lonely, since they only need to look interiorly to find their Lord. In addition, each Christian is incorporated into Christ’s Mystical Body the Church, and shares in the stream of grace that runs through it, and connects us one to another. Any suffering you endure can be offered up as a grace and blessing for someone else, and vice versa. Christ therefore transforms the “drudgery” of daily work by making even the smallest task, if done in love, a noble and efficacious participation in His work of redemption.
Even death no longer hangs over us as a futile end. In Christ it has become the consummation of our earthly service, and the commencement of our heavenly reward. The longing for God which begins here, finds it’s fulfillment and joy in eternity; much like a wedding marks the transition from the growing love of engagement, to the total union of marriage. Thus, heaven is described by God as a wedding feast in the book of Revelation:
|Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory.
For the wedding day of the Lamb has come,
his bride has made herself ready.
She was allowed to wear a bright, clean linen garment.” – The linen represents the righteous deeds of the holy ones.
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”
No wonder “the whole town was gathered at the door” in today’s Gospel. Jesus is the savior every human person longs for and needs. He gives freely and abundantly. May we seek Him out for ourselves, and also bring Him to others in need of His healing.
Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Everyone is looking for you.” His words remain true today and in every age.
- Take a few minutes to lay your burdens and anxieties before Christ in prayer. Approach Him with trusting faith to help you.
- Take a few minutes to bring the burdens and anxieties of those you love before Christ.
- Consider the difference between the temporary or partial relief you find in natural comforts, compared to the fullness of the peace of Christ found in prayer.
Make a Resolution (Practical Application):
Like the people in Simon Peter’s town, seek out Christ. Choose one concrete way to encounter Him each day this week.
- Ideas: Take 5 minutes for silent prayer, visit Christ in Eucharistic Adoration, spend 10 minutes with Christ in Scripture, attend a daily Mass, read about the life of a saint or one of their writings, make time to visit a Christian friend who always seems to make Christ visible to you.
~ Written by Angela Jendro © 2018
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