Monday, February 9, 2009

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear All,

I am sitting in flight from Miami to London at 37,000 feet above the Atlantic, thinking about this Sunday’s readings, which talk about three things:  the mystery of suffering, about prayer and spreading the Good News.

In today’s First Reading we are invited to reflect on the meaning of suffering.  In the passage from the book of Job we see how Job despaired at the suffering he was forced to endure.  He had lost everything; his land, possessions and even his family.  We can certainly identify with his complaint.  He sees no sense in his suffering and therefore no meaning in his life and he complains at what he must endure.  Job despairs uttering: “I shall not see happiness again”—but we know that later in the story he rediscovers hope and his losses are restored to him. His perseverance pays off—God rewards him for not giving up.  Nevertheless, we can identify with his suffering and we have all known depression or despair at one time or another in our lives.

In Mark’s Gospel reading there is a much more positive note and we read about the compassion of Jesus. Simon’s house looked like an emergency room that evening, when people brought all the sick and disturbed in the town, in order to be cured.  He cures Simon’s mother-in-law and then goes on to cure all who asked for healing whether they were suffering from illnesses of body or spirit.  We know that Jesus did not refuse to heal one single person who presented themselves to him and asked for healing.

But his compassion drains him and at dawn he goes away to a lonely place to be at peace and to pray to the Father.  Several times we read in the Gospel stories about Jesus’ going to a quiet place to pray.  Do we take time out of our busy lifes to pray, to reflect?  I just read about a European CEO who is proud to confess that he only sleeps about five hours a night.  He is so busy almost around the clock.  Yet, a magazine wrote an article criticizing some of his decisions, wondering aloud if because of all this busy times he had forgotten how to think.  There are so many things to do and to distract us that we run the risk of forgetting how to think.  Jesus gives us a good example, after a hectic day of healing many sick in body and in mind; he goes into the desert to a serene place to pray.  Each one of us also benefits from spending time in a lonely place of our own.  Prayer will build up our courage to face the trials ahead and the best way to do this is to draw strength from the Father in prayer.  Finding our own place of stillness, our own place of silence, where we can commune with the Lord and our souls can be at rest and have time to contemplate what lies ahead for us and grow in understanding of the victory that Christ has already won (=the Good News).

Paul offers to his followers in Corinth in today’s Second Reading the gospel free of charge.  Spreading the Good News about Salvation keeps him going.  I find energy and motivation out of this, and offer my own reflection in the hope that my dear readers can experience healings of your sufferings and find joy in this Good News.

A complete text of the readings at:

With God’s Love and Blessings,


1 comment:

  1. I love today's message, it truly made me sit back and think. I just want you to know that I always look forward to your devotions...I truly appreciate them.