Friday, February 3, 2012

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel reading: Mark 1:29-

Vs.29 On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew.vs.30 Now Simon's mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straight-away. Vs.31 He went to her took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them. Vs.32 That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. Vs.33 The whole town came crowding round the door, vs.34 and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.

Vs.35 In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. vs.36 Simon and his companions set out in search of him, vs.37 and when they found him they said, "Everybody is looking for you."
vs.38 He answered, "Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring towns,
so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came."
vs.39 And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.

When you are sick who do you visit to help you get better? You go to your doctor. How do you meet your doctor? You go to the surgery. When do you go to the surgery? The doctor has surgery hours and you go during these hours. There is another doctor, Jesus. He will also help you to get better. How and where do you go to meet him? You can meet him anytime you turn to him in prayer but his special surgery times are the sacraments, especially the Mass.

The more I actively participate in the Mass, the more real He becomes to us.

In the Gospel today we hear of Jesus curing Peter’s mother-in-law in Capernaum, and curing many others who were sick. (Mark 1:29-39) Jesus, who healed so many one evening in Capernaum, is willing to heal you too in this Mass and every Mass. The greatest moment for healing is when you receive Jesus in Holy Communion. During those precious minutes when you and Jesus are united very specially ask him in faith for the healing you need, and adore and praise him for all he has done for you. As well as going to your doctor when you get sick, go also to Jesus.

Prayer Reflection

Lord, answering your call is often difficult. Sometimes we are discouraged by our failures, but at other times it is success that prevents us. Like Jesus, we must go against those who admire us and the work we are doing. They want us to continue where we are, they remind us of the good we do for people, as friends, teachers, doctors, nurses or counsellors, how we take them by the hand and help them, so that the fever leaves them and they can wait on us.

They point out the people bringing to us all who are sick, and those who are possessed by devils, so that it feels as if the whole town is there crowding round the door or our houses. We ourselves are pained to leave the many who are suffering from diseases of one kind or another, or who need devils to be cast out.

Teach us to follow the example of Jesus; remind us that if we want to do your will we must learn to get up in the morning, long before dawn, and leave our house to go off to a lonely place and pray there, so that when others come in search of us saying, "Everybody is looking for you," like Jesus, we will be free enough to choose what we know is right for us.

We will go to neighbouring regions where no one else has gone, relate to those we have been keeping at arm's length, so that we can bring the good news of your love there too, remembering that this is why we have come into the world.

Lord, forgive us, your church, that we have become complacent, that we are content to congratulate ourselves at whole towns crowding round our doors. We pray that we will never lose the missionary spirit of Jesus, so that, just as he went through all Galilee, the church too will go through all areas of society and all cultures, preaching your love wherever people are gathered, and casting out every kind of evil spirit.

In the secular world too, all great people come to the time when they must step out into an area their movement has neglected up to now. Nelson Mandela, for example, decided at some point in his life that he would work for reconciliation with his oppressors. People have given up successful careers in law, medicine, finance, education or management to work for the advancement of neglected communities. It happens to all of us, at one time or another, that we find the courage to break new ground, to be reconciled with someone who had hurt our family, to move into some field where our services are needed.

This passage celebrates such moments of grace in the life of Jesus and in our lives.
In recent years, our Church has often made similar moves in many countries. It has given up its prestige and influence, risked losing the patronage of the wealthy and the powerful, and stood at the side of the oppressed, "preaching there too." It would be good to spend some time with the expression "because that is why I came." Like so many phrases in the Bible, it is brief and seemingly simple, but it can transform our consciousness radically. When the Church neglects the marginalized it is always because it has forgotten the reason "why it came".

The gospel passage reminds us that we will not take bold new decisions unless we are inwardly free, as Jesus was. It also teaches us the secret of his inner freedom - his regular, deep, personal prayer, the fact that he would "leave the house and go off to a lonely place to pray there" - another haunting little phrase isn’t it?

Be a healer to someone this Sunday and in your life.

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