Sunday, February 7, 2021

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Christ Heals All Things

Today's readings remind us that Christ heals all things.

In the first reading from the book of Job, we see Job describing life without God.  It is a life of "drudgery," misery, and depression. The book of Job is the oldest book of the Bible. It tells us about a man who suffered greatly, but never succumbed to that suffering and did not doubt God (Job 13:15). It is a book about theistic existentialism. Without God, our lives and everything in them has no meaning or purpose (Ecclesiastes 1).  This seems like a depressing life and rightfully so. If we come from God and want no part of Him, then what else is there?  This is why only the foolish reject God (Psalm 14:1). It is no wonder why atheists have higher rates of depression and suicide as opposed to those who believe in God.  This is the forlornness that leads to anguish and despair as Sartre coined it.  Nevertheless, God is always there for all.  This rings very true in these trying times with the covid-19 coronavirus plaguing the world. We have all lost so much. Some of us lost loved ones and even our jobs. We have lost our socialization and kids have lost their once in a lifetime experience of going to school and hanging out with their friends there.  

The responsorial Psalm responds to this first reading detailing the dark depressing environment of man with, "Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted."  The Psalm reminds us that God is Good.  All things God does is good.  He even brings good out of evil!  That is how powerful He is. He heals the depressed, those suffering within, who feel empty inside (Psalm 103:3Psalm 147:3).  Many of us feel like this now with this alleged pandemic plaguing the world. We are told to distance ourselves from others, including loved ones in nursing homes. It is difficult.  Kids are at home and not with their friends at school.  It is a sad time that can lead to depression.  We must seek God. God is always there for us.   

In the second reading, St. Paul reminds us that we must preach the Gospel for the sake of the Gospel and not ourselves. We should not preach it to make money or receive fame. Today we see these so-called "Televangelists" profiting off the Gospel. They turn the Gospel into a show people go to see and get entertained.  This is not how to preach the Gospel.  We must preach the Gospel with love and sincerity (Philippians 1:16). Preaching the Gospel requires us to become the "slave to all." What St. Paul means by this is that we must become the servant of the people. In doing so, we become all things to them; mother, father, brother, sister, friend, etc. This is how they will be able to better relate to us and the Gospel that we preach.  The Catholic Church uses inculturation for this reason. She uses the culture, music, and language of the people in order to preach the Gospel to them.

Finally, in the Gospel, Jesus heals Simon's mother-in-law after leaving the synagogue showing that God steps outside of the Temple to care for all.  God is not bound in any Temple or location (1 Kings 8:27). After healing Simon's mother-in-law, Jesus healed many others of various diseases and of demonic possession. Christ heals all things. Only He can rescue man when He is stuck in his own existentialist depression (Revelation 21:4).  Science is fine, medicine is fine, psychology is fine, but God is the one who has the final say. We learned this last year in 2020 when science, government, etc all failed.  A mere virus took the world by storm leaving scientists guessing whether or not masks work, what distance spread the virus, and how to fight it.  The mighty science fell; humiliated by a natural organism. God is the one who is in control.  By becoming human, Christ bore all of our sufferings and heals us (1 Peter 2:24). We should always seek Him especially when we get caught up in spiritual dryness.

Readings:  Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

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