Fifth Sunday Homily in Ordinary Time Year B

fifth Sunday homily

Reading 1 JB 7:1-4, 6-7

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.

Responsorial Psalm PS 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (cf. 3a) Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, for he is good;
sing praise to our God, for he is gracious;
it is fitting to praise him.
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem;
the dispersed of Israel he gathers.
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
R. Alleluia.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He tells the number of the stars;
he calls each by name.
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
R. Alleluia.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
to his wisdom there is no limit.
The LORD sustains the lowly;
the wicked he casts to the ground.
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 COR 9:16-19, 22-23

Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!
If I do so willingly, I have a recompense,
but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What then is my recompense?
That, when I preach,
I offer the gospel free of charge
so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.

Alleluia MT 8:17

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 1:29-39

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.

Homily – Fifth Sunday Homily in Ordinary Time Year B

Making Whole, Making Holy

“I made myself all things to all people for the sake of the gospel” (Paul)

            A woman in distress over the death of her husband visited a religious sister, a counselor, to seek counsel and comfort. Sobbing bitterly, the widow poured out her tale of woe. The sister listened patiently and said softly, “Friend, I can’t wipe away your tears, but I can teach you how to make them holy!” Making everyone whole and everything holy – is the challenge for every consecrated person – meaning, every Christian.

            ‘Consecrate’ means to ‘set apart’ or “make holy’. Unfortunately, consecrated life is often understood as ‘withdrawal from the world’ or ‘confinement in a cloister’ to avoid evil, earthy influences. True, some are called to the monastic or cloistered vocation. But, God calls most of us to be ‘consecrated’ in the thick of life m set apart, yet fully involved in human struggle; devoted to the world, yet wary of being ‘worldly’. Let’s look at Jesus to comprehend consecration.

            Today’s gospel provides an insight into “Jesus’ daily timetable”. John Paul “’5 Vita Consecrate for religious life (No. 22) terms Jesus: “The Supreme Consecrated One.” Thus, it’s fitting to see how Jesus makes whole, makes holy. “Long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a loner place to pray.” Jesus begins his day with prayer, with intimate communion with his Abba who commissions and with the Spirit who consecrates. Prayer gives depth, dynamism and direction to Jesus’ mission.

            Energized by prayer, Jesus embarks upon ministry. The healing of Peter’s mother-in-law has two vital details: (a) Jesus “raises her up”. The Greek verb egeiro is often used to refer to Jesus’ own ‘raising up’ or resurrection (see Mk 14:28; 16:6; 1 Cor 15:4; Acts 3: 15); and (b) Peter’s mother-in-law “served them” indicating the completeness of her cure and the service expected of those who have been healed by Christ.

            By sundown, Jesus has healed many who are sick and possessed by devils. These are manifestations of his messiah ship. Simon 8: (:0. are ecstatic about everyone’s enthusiasm. “Everybody is looking for you!” they exclaim, expecting Jesus to capitalize on his popularity. But Jesus replies, “Let’s go ‘‘elsewhere!” Jesus moves on.

            Rivers remain pure by flowing, religious stay holy by going. To ‘move on’ is not easy for religious. incidentally, this reflection is written a day before i myself ‘move on’ from Chennai to Delhi after a 5-year stay in a celestial “mixed community‘ of priests whose caring and sharing I treasure. Partings are painful; but go; one must – carrying cherished fragments of Life from every crossroad one traverses.

            Paul is a religious profoundly passionate about preaching Christ. “Woe to me if i do not preach the gospel!” His preaching is not only a responsibility, but also its own reward. Paul’s words correspond to his works. It’s not enough to bring good news, one must be good news. Someone said about two religious: “Wherever she goes, she brings happiness, but, whenever he goes, it brings happiness!”

            “l have made myself the slave of everyone  and all things for all people for the sake of the gospel.” Every Christian, especially one engaged in ministry. is called to be ‘everything to everyone’ mother, father, sister, brother, friend. A woman wary of pedophile priests cautioned her child to avoid priests until she saw one doing somersaults to attract the kids‘attention during catechism class. “That’s a holy man!” she mused.

            Consecrated life must be lived for the brokenhearted. In the first reading, job compares his life to forced military service, drudgery of a labourer and slavery, three of the proverbially wretched states of life. The refrain of the psalm (147): “Praise God who heals the brokenheartedly” are words of the anawim – the orphan, widow and stranger – who require our help. Jesus challenges us to wholeheartedly heal the brokenhearted like job, Peter’s mother-in-law and that widow, so that even human tears may be made holy.

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