February 5, 2012 — Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jb 7:1-4, 6-7; Ps 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23; Mk 1:29-39
Today’s gospel begins with Mark’s whole gospel account, and we see Christ performing miracles, beginning with the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law. Later, the gospel tells us, “He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and He drove out many demons.”
Clearly, the people were amazed at what Jesus had done. So, when He withdrew to a place to pray, Simon, Andrew, and others came looking for Him. But the Lord told them He had to go. He had to preach and heal throughout all of Galilee. “For this purpose I have come,” He says.
Jesus has come to heal the whole world, but it is not to heal mere diseases. Rather, these stories of His powerful healing miracles serve as a foreshadowing of the greatest healing miracle of all time, His passion death and resurrection. Through this great paschal mystery, the Lord offers all of us healing from sin and life everlasting.
His earthly mission was to offer healing and life to all men, even those like Job, who suffered so terribly. Christ answers Job’s plea for relief. Without the Lord, the world waits in misery and hopelessness, simply counting their days of dread. But in Christ we see redemption from such things. Because of Him, we have hope in a painless, glorified future, even though the pain will not completely be banished this side of heaven. We can look to the cross and see a God who understands our pain, a God who suffers with us and a God who so unconditionally loves us that He offers us freedom from the pains of this life if we simply flock to Him.
He is, indeed, the great healer.
In a particular way, we gain grace that helps us through our struggles in the sacraments. There, in all seven of them, Christ pours out His life for us, giving us strength in this journey of life. And we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the life He offers us will bring us joy and fulfillment in the heavenly kingdom.
It a wonderful reality, a message of healing and hope, and Christ knew that everyone needed to hear it; not just Simon’s mother-in-law and those around her. So, after spending a bit of time with them, He took off to preach the good news to others.
Today, our job is to go about throughout the world spreading the message that Christ has come to heal and save all people. That is the Church’s mission – to proclaim the good news and call all men to Christ.
Later in Mark’s gospel, Jesus tells His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”
Each one of us is vital to this mission. Each one of us is a crucial part of the Church, armed with particular gifts with which we can proclaim the good news. So, it is up to us to take ownership of this call, to see our part in the Church’s life and mission as not just happen stance, but purposeful and important and to use the gifts we have been given to proclaim the Gospel and to glorify the Lord.
As Christ’s disciples, we follow His example, living lives of selflessness for others, being there for others whenever we are needed, and using the many gifts God has given us for the good of others. Oftentimes, when we live this way, our lives become a witness. People are drawn to such a way of living and they can see Christ through our actions. We do not necessarily need to stand on the mountaintop and preach. Some of us may have been given the gift to preach in that way, while others of us are called to a more subdued form of preaching.
The important thing is that we recognize our many gifts, even our very lives, as gifts from God and we use them to serve Him, proclaiming the gospel and calling others to conversion, remembering all-the-while, that, as Paul tells us, “If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me.”
We have been given so many great gifts from the Lord above, one of which is the gift of faith. Let us do our part to share that faith with the world, starting with those around us.