Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Job 7: 1-4, 6-7; Cor. 9: 16-19, 22-23; Mark 1: 29-39
In today’s Gospel, Jesus has hardly left the synagogue when he is told of a suffering woman nearby. Peter’s mother-in-law was but one of the many Jesus healed during his days in Galilee. Having been told of her illness, Jesus “approached, grabbed her hand, and helped her up.” How reassuring is his prompt and personal response. He moves immediately from a time of communal worship to being engaged in an act of mercy.
In the responsorial psalm we hear a similar message - our loving Lord “heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” Again in the Gospel acclamation – “Christ took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
Jesus desires to heal us, too, from whatever holds us back, so that we can be engaged in proclaiming the power of God’s love and in offering assistance to our sisters and brothers. As soon as Peter’s mother-in-law is healed, she turns to service. Encounter with our God, often leads us to the service of others.
Rising early the next morning, Jesus went off to a deserted place where he might commune with his Father. No matter how busy he finds himself, he always finds time for prayer in the desert, the mountainside, or wherever he finds himself. Prayer sustains his activities of preaching and healing. He never ignores the needs of others nor does he neglect his periods of prayer. At the end of the reading, even though others are looking for him, he gives himself fully to time with his Father. His time of contemplation then moves him to action.
In Mark’s account of Jesus early ministry, we perceive an example of how each of us is called to live. Jesus’ faithfulness to prayer should move us in a similar fashion. When faced with the needs of others, we too should respond in ways that enable and heal. Prayer provides the motivation for our response, guiding its direction.
In today’s reading from Mark, Jesus is depicted as a man of prayer, a man of compassion and a man committed to the healing and enablement of others. We pray to be enabled to follow his inspiration through a faithfulness to daily prayer and a willingness to assist others as we are able.
Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, OP