Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Catholic Reflections 651 : Homily Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - Sunday, 4 February 2018

Homily Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - Sunday, 4 February 2018
[-RH-]
Job 7:1-4, 6-7 Job considers the human experience and finds it tedious, difficult, and miserable.
Psalm 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 Praise the Lord who cares for the multitude of stars and all of us with wisdom and love. “Praise the Lord, who heals the broken-hearted”
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23 Saint Paul admits that preaching is tough, but withholding the gospel is not an option.
Mark 1:29-39 Jesus declares his purpose: to proclaim the good news to one and all.
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Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - Sunday, 4 February 2018 by clicking this link: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/5b-faith-hope-and-love  (EPISODE: 73 )
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The readings this weekend give a wonderful insight into the core motivation for both Jesus’ ministry and also his apostle, the great Saint Paul. (Scripture scholar William Barclay has some excellent insights into this……: (The Daily Study Bible. Gospel of Mark. (Revised Edition).” By William Barclay)

“In the first reading, Paul rather concisely sums up his vision of what he is doing.
His ministry is a privilege given to him by his personal encounter with the risen Lord, and yet it is also his duty. He “had not chosen the work; it had chosen him; he could no more stop doing it than he could stop breathing; and there could, therefore, be no question of payment… His task was not so much a job but a vocation. The motivation of this vocation is not accumulation of wealth or other personal comforts, but for the satisfaction of being a servant of Christ in his mission. 
 
It is like the story of a professor at a university who in his retirement speech announced that he would have done his job for free because he was so committed to the work and so passionate about it. I am sure his employers would have liked to hear this revelation some time prior to his very last day of work though!
 
For St Paul, there was nevertheless great reward. He had the satisfaction of bringing the gospel freely to all people who would receive it. The real reward of any task is the satisfaction of a job well done.

Albert Schweitzer (the great philosopher and medical missionary) describes the kind of moment which brought him the greatest happiness. Someone suffering intensely is brought into his hospital. He soothes the man by telling him that he will anaesthetize him and will operate on him and all will be well. After the operation he sits beside the patient waiting for him to regain consciousness. Slowly he opens his eyes and then whispers in sheer wonderment, "I have no more pain." That was it. There was no material reward there, but a satisfaction as deep as the depths of the heart itself.

To have mended one shattered life, to have restored one wanderer to the right way, to have healed one broken heart, to have brought one soul to Christ is not a thing whose reward can be measured in monetary terms, - its joy is beyond all measurement.

Saint Paul uses the now famous saying that he has “become all things to all people.” This explains his method of ministry. It is often misunderstood. He does not mean, by this phrase, that he tries to be (hypocritically) one thing to one person and quite a different or contradictory thing to another. It means having the ability to “get alongside anyone.” The person “who can never see anything but their own point of view and who never makes any attempt to understand the mind and heart of others, will never make a a particularly good friend let alone a disciple of Christ.

We can never attain to any kind of evangelism or friendship without speaking the same language and understanding the same thoughts as the other person.

Now we move from the disciple to the Master, Jesus. His actions in today’s gospel are (as usual) truly inspiring and revealing.


In the synagogue Jesus had spoken and acted in the most amazing way. The synagogue service ended and Jesus went with his friends to Peter's house. According to Jewish custom the main Sabbath meal came immediately after the synagogue service, at the sixth hour, that is at 12 o'clock midday. (The Jewish day began at 6 a.m. and the hours are counted from then.) Jesus might well have claimed the right to rest after the excitement and exhaustion of the synagogue service; but once again his compassion was appealed to and once again he spent himself for others. This miracle tells us something about three people.


It tells us something about Jesus. He did not require an audience in order to exert his power; There were many “healers” and exorcists in the time of Jesus, but they worked with elaborate incantations, and spells, and magical props. In contrast, in the synagogue Jesus had only spoken one authoritative sentence and the healing was complete.

Here we have the same thing again. Peter's mother-in-law was suffering from "a burning fever." … Jesus completely disregarded the standard props commonly used by magicians to treat such an illness, -- and with a gesture and a word of unique authority and power, he healed the woman.

……A miracle to Jesus was not a means of increasing his prestige; to help was not a laborious and disagreeable duty; he helped instinctively, because he was supremely interested in all who needed his help.{Jesus isn’t a hired worker… he is a friend and companion along the journey…. It isn’t his occupation to heal… he does it out of compassion and love…….}

We learn something too about Peter's wife's mother. No sooner was she healed than she began to attend to their needs. She used her recovered health for renewed service. Hence the rather beautiful motto: "Saved to Serve." Jesus helps us that we may help others.

The crowds soon heard of Jesus’ wondrous healing……crowds were eager to seek him out… but it was Sabbath….. they must wait until Saturday evening when Sabbath concluded…. Because it was against the law to carry even a sick person on a stretcher during Sabbath, as that was regarded as work. They had, of course, no clocks or watches in those days; the Sabbath ran from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and the law was that the Sabbath was ended and the day had finished when three stars came out in the sky. So the people of Capernaum waited until the sun had set and the stars were out and then they came, carrying their sick, to Jesus; and he healed them.


The people flocked to Jesus because they recognized in him a man who could do things. …. The crowds came because they wanted something out of Jesus. They did not necessarily come because they loved him; they did not probably come because they had caught a glimpse of some new vision; in the last analysis they wanted to use him. That is what many people wants to do with God and his Son. For one prayer that goes up to God in days of prosperity ten thousand go up in time of adversity.
Someone has said that many people regard religion as belonging "to the ambulance corps and not to the firing-line of life." ……... We must all go to Jesus; for he alone can give us the things we need for life; but if that going and these gifts do not produce in us an answering love and gratitude there is something tragically wrong. God is not someone to be used in the day of misfortune; he is someone to be loved //

Finally we learn something about Jesus as man of prayer….Jesus was left with no time alone. Now Jesus knew all too well that he could not abide without significant connection to his Heavenly Father. If he was going to be forever giving out, he must be at least sometimes taking in; He knew that he could not live without prayer. It was essential and important to him. It was integral to him.


We see today, that Jesus never separated words and actions. He never separated soul and body. The Christian message is one and it preaches and works for the good of a person's body as well as the good of their soul.

Jesus never separated earth and heaven. There are those who are so concerned with heaven that they forget all about earth and so become impractical visionaries. There are those who are so concerned with earth that they forget about heaven and limit good to this earth’s material good. The dream of Jesus was a time when God's will would be done in earth as it is in heaven, (Matt.6:10) then earth and heaven will be united.”*
 
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References:

*THE DAILY STUDY BIBLE. GOSPEL OF MARK. (REVISED EDITION). BY WILLIAM BARCLAY.

Fr Paul W. Kelly

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Archive of homilies and reflections: http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au
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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

(Sunday, 4 February 2018)
(EPISODE: 73 )

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (or/ The Lord be with You)
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Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you are the image of the unseen God: Lord, have mercy.//You are the firstborn of all creation: Christ, have mercy//You are the head of the body, the Church: Lord, have mercy//
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
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Memorial Acclamation
Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.

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Sundays Ordinary IV

Eucharistic Prayer One

Communion side. pwk:  RH
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Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.



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