Gospel Reflection: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Job spoke, saying:
Is not man's life on earth a drudgery?
Are not his days those of hirelings?
He is a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for his wages.
So I have been assigned months of misery,
and troubled nights have been allotted to me.
If in bed I say, "When shall I arise?"
then the night drags on;
I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.
My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle;
they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is like the wind;
I shall not see happiness again.

Jb 7:1-4, 6-7


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.

Mk 1:29-39

In today’s readings, we encounter two distinct perspectives on suffering and healing.

In the First Reading, Job expresses his discouragement in the face of his challenging circumstances, openly and sincerely sharing his pain. A short life, troubled nights, and a restless heart – this passage from the Book of Job powerfully articulates the human experience of suffering and the deep anguish that often accompanies it. Job's words reflect the raw emotions and questions that can arise when confronted with intense suffering. It serves as a reminder that suffering is a universal experience and that even the most righteous individuals may be subjected to great trials.

In the Gospel, we hear of Jesus approaching Simon’s mother-in-law and healing her from a fever immediately after being informed of her sickness. Here, we witness two individuals undergoing different experiences of suffering: one receives immediate healing, while the other endures a prolonged period of suffering before finally finding healing and answers to his prayers. Similar to Job and Simon’s mother-in-law, we may also find ourselves in circumstances where we experience suffering that is quickly resolved and other times when we endure what seems to be hopeless and persistent anguish.

An intriguing aspect of the Gospel reveals Jesus rising very early before dawn while everyone else slept to pray in a deserted place. While he prayed, Simon and the others found him and informed Him that everyone was looking for Him. His response is one of action, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." Jesus, understanding the suffering of humanity, the yearning for answers, healing, and freedom, was aware that He was called and needed, and that He had been tasked with the mission of proclaiming freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and setting the oppressed free. This passage reminds us of the power and compassion of Jesus, who brings healing and liberation to those who are suffering.

Reflecting on these passages, we are confronted with the reality of suffering in our world. Like Job, we may find ourselves questioning the purpose of our pain and longing for relief. Yet, in the Gospel, we see the hope and healing that Jesus brings. He is the source of comfort and restoration, offering us a glimpse of God's love and mercy. In the face of suffering, we are invited to turn to Jesus, who understands our pain and offers us healing and renewal. So today, let us approach Him with the sincerity of Job and the hope of the Apostles, trusting that He understands our suffering, longs to comfort us, and knows what is best for our lives.

Please be assured of my prayers before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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