February 8, 2015 – 5th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Cycle B, Green
Jb 7:1-4, 6–7 / 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23 / Mk 1: 29-39
First Reading: Jb 7:1-4,6–7
Man's life on earth is a thankless job, his days are those of a mercenary. Like a slave he longs for the shade of evening, like a hireling waiting for his wages.
Thus I am allotted months of boredom and nights of grief and misery.
In bed I say, "When shall the day break?" On rising, I think, "When shall evening come?" and I toss restless till dawn.
My days pass swifter than a weaver's shuttle, heading without hope to their end. My life is like wind, you well know it, O God; never will I see happiness again.
From the 2nd Reading: 1 Cor 9: 16-19, 22-23
Because I cannot boast of announcing the Gospel: I am bound to do it. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel! If I preached voluntarily, I could expect my reward, but I have been trusted this office against my will. How can I, then, deserve a reward? In announcing the Gospel, I will do it freely without making use of the rights given me by the Gospel.
So, feeling free with everybody, I have become everybody's slave in order to gain a greater number.
To the weak I made myself weak, to win the weak. So I made myself all things to all people in order to save, by all possible means, some of them. This I do for the Gospel, so that I too have a share of it.
Gospel: Mk 1: 29-39
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. As Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed with fever, they immediately told him about her. Jesus went to her and taking her by the hand, raised her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening at sundown, people brought to Jesus all the sick and those with evil spirits: the whole town was pressing around the door. Jesus healed many who had various diseases, and drove out many demons; but he did not let them speak, for they knew who he was.
Very early in the morning, before daylight, Jesus went off to a lonely place where he prayed. Simon and the others went out, too, searching for him; and when they found him they said, "Everyone is looking for you." Then Jesus answered, "Let us go to the nearby villages so that I may preach there too; for that is why I came." So Jesus set out to preach in all the synagogues throughout Galilee; he also cast out demons.
Regularly Jesus took time off to pause and pray, to be with his heavenly Father. Rising very early before daylight, amidst the turmoil of his daily life, Jesus would take time to go off to a quiet and deserted place to pray. So should we.
Journeying from one town to another, teaching and healing the sick and those possessed by evil spirits drained him of energy. Likewise our daily work drains us of energy. That is why we need to do what Jesus did. Like him we need to recharge ourselves spiritually. We need to pause momentarily in the course of our busy day to get in touch with ourselves and to listen to God's voice in our hearts.
To pause and pray allows us to move away from ourselves and our worries, our pre-occupations and self-satisfaction. It enables us to direct all that we have towards God in the simple and childlike trust that through his love all will be made new. How often do we do this?
During World War II British Navy ships had a signal called "the Still" which sounded when disaster struck. The signal says, "Stop whatever you are doing, Pause. Check your present situation. Prepare to do the wise thing." "The Still" saved thousands of British lives and British property.
We too have problems and emergencies in our daily lives: we do not know what to do or how to react. How helpful it would be to pause and think and pray.
In the midst of his busy day of preaching, healing and being with people, Jesus needed and found time to pause and pray. So should we.
We could present today's Gospel reading as a call to quiet and prayer: "Slow me down, Lord. Slow me down. Ease my pounding heart and quiet my racing mind; sooth my frayed nerves and relax my tired muscles. Teach me the art of taking minute breaks, of keeping in touch with myself, of listening to God's voice and drawing new light from it, new strength and new courage. Slow me down, Lord. Slow me down." (Anonymous)
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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