From the Pastor's Desk
Today’s readings challenge us to avoid Job’s pessimistic and cynical view of life as a chain of pain and sufferings and to accept life with hope and optimism as a precious gift from God, using it to do good for others and spending our time, talents and lives for others as Jesus did and as St. Paul did.
While the Gospel presents Jesus enthusiastically living out his Sabbath day of preaching and healing ministry, the first reading details Job’s attitude in striking contrast: Job complains of the tedium and futility of life and the miseries of human existence. But eventually Job surrenders himself, his suffering, his work and everything he had had and lost to the greater wisdom of God (Job 42:1-6).
In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 147), the Psalmist sings praises to God because He is busy full-time in gathering Israel from their captivity, in healing the broken hearted and bandaging their wounds, in controlling the universe, in sustaining the lowly and in punishing the wicked.
The second reading reveals Paul to us as a true and dynamic follower of Jesus, ready to do something extra for his Lord by preaching the Gospel without recompense or remuneration and obeying the Lord like a slave.
Pointing out the spontaneous response of Peter’s mother-in-law after she had been healed by Jesus, today’s Gospel teaches us that true discipleship means getting involved in giving selfless service to others. During the Sabbath day, Jesus took part in the synagogue worship, taught with authority, exorcised a demon, healed Simon’s mother-in-law and, after sundown, “cured many who were sick with various diseases, and drove out many demons.” Thus, Jesus spent himself and most of his time ministering to the needs of others, giving healing, forgiveness and a new beginning to many. Yet, Jesus rose early the next morning and went off "to a deserted place" to pray, in order to assess his work before God his Father and to recharge his spiritual batteries.
1) We need to be instruments for Jesus’ healing work. Bringing healing and wholeness is Jesus’ ministry even today. We all need healing of our minds, our memories and our broken relationships. But Jesus now uses counselors, doctors, friends or even strangers in his healing ministry. Let us ask for the ordinary healing we need in our own lives. When we are healed, let us not forget to thank Jesus for his goodness, mercy, and compassion by turning to serve others. Our own healing process is completed only when we are ready to help others in their needs and to focus on things outside ourselves. Let us also be instruments for Jesus’ healing by visiting the sick and praying for their healing. But let us remember that we need the Lord’s strength not only to make ourselves and others well, but to make us and others whole.
2) We need to live for others as Jesus did: Jesus was a man for others, sharing what he had with others. In his life there was time for prayer, time for healing and time for reconciliation. Let us take up this challenge by sharing love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness with others. Instead of considering life as dull and boring, let us live our lives as Jesus did, full of dynamism and zeal for the glory of God.