Gospel Reflections

5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark 1:29-39

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Mary O'Brien

Published: February 08, 2015

The readings of this Sunday challenge us to rise from the lethargy of the sameness of life to go out to serve others. How do we see this?

The first reading shows Job, complaining about the misery of life and the lack of hope which he sees as his lot. All of us, at one time or another, have known this type of depression. But then we come to the responsorial psalm: Alleluia, praise the Lord for he is good. In this Psalm, we have the promise of the strength and positive action of the Lord in the life of each one of us. Then St Paul, talking to the Corinthians, speaks to our hearts of his own experience of the power of God as the driving force of his life. The challenge is to make ourselves ready to go out to others to do for them what we would like them to do for us. Just as Paul says, he is not a slave, neither are we.  Yet we are challenged to set out to serve others, and why? It is to give to each person something of the joy of Christ. We do all for the sake of the Gospel, the sake of the Good News of our salvation. This is a mystery which we can penetrate only slowly as life goes on. All will be revealed in an instant when we come to the hour of our death – the instant for which we were made.

The Alleluia verse leads us into the light of the revelation given to us continuously. Our understanding of what is revealed grows slowly and brings us to face the challenge of going out to others. In the Gospel, we see Jesus coming from the synagogue, going straight to the sick woman, raising her by her hand and curing her. There was no hesitation, no asking of questions, no having a rest before working again but straightforward action. From other Gospel incidents, we know that curing the sick was not an easy, thoughtless action but one which required prayer and energy. In this case the public nature of the cure caused much talk in the town and so many came in the evening and asked to be cured of various sicknesses.

At the end of a busy day, Jesus gave of himself to all those who came begging for help. The sicknesses were many in number, some of them being mental sicknesses which always bring anxiety and fear to the afflicted and to their families and great suffering to the sick and those who know them. Then, we notice that Jesus went to pray, perhaps for those who had been cured, those who had not come to be touched, and maybe for the future well-being of all those who had been present. We do not really know Jesus' intent, but we do know that prayer is the only road leading to growth in our willingness to notice and to react to the needs of others. Jesus is our example and our teacher.

May we pray that we be open to receive the graces we need to accept the challenge of the readings of this Sunday as we set out, once more, on the road to serving others as Jesus would have us give of our very self.



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