Meditation for 5thSunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

(Job 7:1-4, 6-7; 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23; Mk 1:29-39)

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel helpless, alone, or abandoned? Human suffering is inevitable. Like an uninvited guest, it sneaks in to awaken us from our vision of comfort. We are surprised at the sudden realization that the life we cherish so much is not totally under our control. The cry of suffering humanity echoes from the depths of our hearts. What is it we enjoy that lasts? Even human life itself fades like a shadow! The lamentation of Job in the first reading of today echoes our voices in the face of emptiness, pain, and sorrow. “Like a hireling who looks for his wages, so I am allotted months of emptiness, and nights of misery are apportioned to me.” Sickness and death rank highest in causing pain and meaninglessness to life.

Being aware that we are floating on this ocean of human suffering, which swiftly washes our joy and fulfillment of life away, we turn to Jesus to be saved. Hence, Peter invited Jesus to attend to his mother-in-law, who was sick with fever. Jesus took her by the hand and lifted her, and the fever left her. It was such a complete and total healing that she served them. Imagine the hand of Jesus clasping the hand of human suffering! With the healing hand of Jesus in view, available and accessible, our every form of pain and abandonment has become a reason to stretch out our hands of faith towards Jesus. Now our lamentation over our helplessness has become a prayer of hope through which we are lifted to serve Jesus.

After healing many people and casting out demons, Jesus did not stay back to enjoy the popularity. He went to a lonely place and prayed there. To be alone with God in silence and prayer takes humility and submission to the will of God. Wrapped in this cloud of silence and prayer, we renew our strength and re-align our vision. It is within this lonely place with God that we are drawn out of the loneliness and abandonment that human suffering pushes us to. Alone with God, we feel that strong gentle divine touch that raises us from the bed of self-agony and hopelessness of life.

Then Jesus said, “Let us go on to the next towns that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out.” With the divine touch we have received, we return the glory to God by spreading the good news. That is why St Paul said about preaching the gospel, “Necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.” We must commit ourselves to the Gospel, and dispose ourselves to spread the message with its power and salvation. “I have become all things to all men, that I might, by all means, save some. I do it all for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share its blessings.” Amen.


Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Tedi-Muwo, Lagos.
Sunday, February 7th, 2021.


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