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Sunday, February 8, 2009

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5th Sunday Ordinary Time

Job 7:1-4, 6-7
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Psalm 147
Mark 1:29-39

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"After sunset, as evening drew on, they brought Him all who were ill, and those possessed by demons. Before long the whole town was gathered outside the door." —Mark 1:32-33

Job faced reality head on and declared: "Life on earth" is "a drudgery" (Jb 7:1). He described life as being "assigned months of misery" (Jb 7:3). Nights are long; days are short (Jb 7:4, 6) and, when we reach the end of them, we are without hope (Jb 7:6).

The only Answer to the drudgery of human existence is Jesus. Jesus is the only Hope for humanity, but the only Hope we need. Jesus walks into the typical town filled with suffering, sick, and even demon-possessed people. He both announces the good news and creates it. He begins by healing a woman with a fever, and before long He's healed many sick people and driven out countless demons (Mk 1:31-34). It is good news when Jesus comes to town. He turns a miserable little village into a paradise of health, happiness, and true freedom.

In transforming the village of Simon and Andrew, Jesus began by grasping the hand of Simon's mother-in-law. A new life and a new town begins with someone putting a hand in Jesus' hand. This is not just a handshake; it is expressing a total commitment to Jesus. We let go of everything we are holding on to for meaning and hope in life, and we hold on to Jesus, and only Jesus, for dear life. Then the good news for ourselves and our town begins.

Prayer:  Father, may I "move on to the neighboring villages so that I may proclaim the good news there also" (Mk 1:38).

Promise:  "I do all that I do for the sake of the gospel in the hope of having a share in its blessings." —1 Cor 9:23

Praise:  Praise You, risen Jesus, "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life" (Jn 14:6). Alleluia!

Reference:  (This Lent, proclaim Jesus by using the Bible. For encouragement, order our series on Biblical Counseling on audio AV 13A-1, AV 13A-3, AV 13B-1 or video starting with V-13A.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008

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