Engaging the Word: 02/08/2015
In our first reading this Sunday we hear Job lament. He does not turn his back to God, but he does wonder about the meaning of life. He had great wealth but now is afflicted and wonders about what is the point of such seeming futility. We can all get down from time to time, but the Psalm assigned for today reminds us of the Lord’s healing power and the Gospel reading today assures us that Jesus reaches out to us when we are suffering.
The Gospel reading from Mark reports that Simon’s mother-in-law was bed-ridden with a fever. Perhaps that is just the way it was, but as the Church pairs this reading today with the passage from Job I am inspired to imagine that maybe she was just down on life, seriously down, to the point of giving up. For one thing, her son-in-law had given up his fishing career to follow this itinerant preacher, and who knows what else may have been depressing her. When we give up on life, really begin to believe it is meaningless, we are really no good to anyone, including ourselves. Fortunately, Jesus whose fundamental message is that human life has ultimate meaning for us pays her a visit. He assures her that her flesh and bones and the world in which she lives is the means that the Creator of all that is has given her to receive the Love which creates, sustains, and transforms all creation. In fact her skin and bones interacting with the world are the only means available to her to receive and share God’s love.
Simon’s mother-in-law is transformed. It is fascinating, too, to note that when she receives the Good News and receives God’s love, she immediately begins to share it. Hope given to those in despair brings life to all the world. The Good News received multiplies and increases the glory of God by bringing human life to fulfillment.
If we get down, let’s try to recognize the hand of Jesus reaching out to us to give us hope. If someone we know is burdened by life, let’s let our hands reach out to be the hands of Jesus.
1st Reading: Job 7: 1-4, 6-7 ~ Responsorial: Psalms 147: 1-6
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 22-23 ~ Gospel: Mark 1: 29-39
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