May the Lord give you peace and health.
It is 4th February 2024. We celebrate the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We reflect on Job 7:1-4, 6-7; 1Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; and Mark 1:29-39.
A Polish man moved to the USA and married an American girl. Although his English was far from perfect, they got along very well. One day he rushed into a lawyer’s office and asked him if he could arrange a divorce for him. The lawyer said that getting a divorce would depend on the circumstances, and this conversation ensued: “Have you any grounds?” Yes, an acre and half and nice little home. “No, I mean what is the foundation of this case?” It’s made of concrete. “I don’ think you understand. Does either of you have a real grudge?” No, we have carport, and not need one. “I mean what are your relations like?” All my relations still in Poland . ” Is there any infidelity in your marriage?” We have hi-fidelity stereo and good DVD player. “Why do you want this divorce?” She going to kill me. “What makes you think that?” I got proof. “What kind of proof?” She going to poison me. She buy a bottle at drug store and put on shelf in bathroom. I can read English pretty good, and it say: POLISH REMOVER.
The readings invite us to have a balance between our prayer and service. Preaching will be fruitless without prayer and service. Service to the humanity is the proof of our intense prayer.
Praying alone is not being a Christian but in showing kindness and participate in the struggles of the other. Unless we enjoy service to the humanity, we cannot savour prayer. Without prayer, we may not even feel the need for service.
Jesus demonstrated this balance, the equilibrium between prayer and action. Jesus addresses the spiritual hunger and takes care of the physical ones too.
Mt. 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
A man fell into sewage pit near a church. One person who looked at him abused him telling whether he was blind and stupid to fall there. The second showed the bible, prayed over him, and told him to come up. The third one took pity on him and got into the dirty water to bring him out. He is the authentic Christian.
Who is not chased by sickness and suffering in our life? Look at Job who expresses his inability to cope with the suffocation of suffering. He knew for sure that God alone can heal his wounds. “For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.” (Job 5:18). “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering.” (Is.53:4).
Why do we suffer then?
It is insufficient prayer. Imbalance in our daily life. The latest proven research tells that prayers have profound impact on the healing process of a suffering person. Pope Francis invites us to waste time with our families. Let us invest time in people. Look at Jesus who visited an ordinary disciple’s home. Visiting a home means entering their lives.
We never get tired by loving others. If we are getting tired, then it is not love. Something else. St. Paul knew the responsibility to preach without expecting. Loving people and sharing the Good News without expecting anything. Our contentment is the reward for loving and sharing the Good News.
We do not need to change for others. Everybody is searching for you. Jesus was not happy that everybody was looking for him. He wanted to move on further other places.
What is our response to the suffering of others?
We are not healers, yet we can ease the suffering by responding them empathetically. The friends of Job did not have ears of listen and sharing. They were accusing him and try to protect God and allowed their friend to suffer. In what are the ways we are reaching out to others in need of healing.
C.S. Lewis in 1961 wrote a quite different book, called, A Grief Observed. The book consists of the painful and brutally honest reflections of a man whose wife has died, slowly and in pain, from cancer. He writes at one point, ‘Where is God? Go to him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that silence.’ Even though his rational, cerebral faith took something of a battering because of Joy’s death, Lewis did not lose his faith. Through the darkness of this experience, he claims to have come to love his wife more truly. He writes that God had helped him to see that because the love he and his wife had for each other had reached its earthly limit, it was ready for its heavenly fulfilment.
Yes, we too are running like a weaver’s shuttle, yet we can find hope, healing and blessing in the Lord. Jesus is our shelter, the shade and security.
As long as we are running for the other’s welfare and healing, our wounds are taken care by the one who loves us for nothing.
Let us run towards the one who is in need and the far distant Heaven, we are assured of what we are looking for in Him through others.
May the Lord help us to reach others as we wish to be in touch with God. Have a lovely day.
God bless you.