Thursday, February 4, 2021

He Heals the Brokenhearted: A Reflection on the Mass Readings for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wally and I were invited to share a reflection at our parish blog on the Mass readings for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Job is a brokenhearted person. Can you relate to some of his feelings?

Bored
"Is not man's life on earth a drudgery?" (Job 7:1)

Unappreciated
"Are not his days those of hirelings?" (Job 7:1)

Overworked
"He is a slave who longs for the shade." (Job 7:2)

Underpaid
"...a hireling who waits for his wages." (Job 7:2)

Miserable
"I have been assigned months of misery." (Job 7:3)

Hopeless
"My days… end without hope." (Job 7: 6)

In contrast to Job's dejection, St. Paul's exuberance in this Sunday's New Testament reading is almost annoying. Can you relate to some of his ambitions?

Desires to Freely Give
"What then is my recompense?... I offer the gospel free of charge." (1 Corinthians 9:18)

Desires to Serve Others
"I have made myself a slave to all." (1 Corinthians 9:19)

Desires Weakness
"I became weak to win over the weak." (1 Corinthians 9:22)

Desires Unity with Others
"I have become all things to all." (1 Corinthians 9:22)

What happens to make someone desire those things? Why would someone let go of money, prestige, strength, and tribalism?

We see the answer in this Sunday's Gospel reading. The transformation from brokenness to freedom is represented physically as Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law. She is sick with fever, unable to even get up, but after a healing encounter with Jesus, she is revived and serves those around her.

Where in my life am I experiencing brokenness? Jesus, please heal me.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3)