Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – B

8 February 2015

Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič

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

Today’s Gospel reading provides some insight regarding the ministry of Jesus. It is divided into three segments which are indicative of the way Jesus lived his life and how people reacted to him.

In the first segment we have the miraculous healing of Peter’s mother-in-law who was lying down sick with a fever. This event tells us something about Jesus. Even though he had many people coming to him with their needs, he was never tired of helping others. The needs of others took precedence over his own desire for rest. Upon being told of her infirmity, Jesus approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. Ever time we reach out to Jesus with faith he then approaches us, takes us by the hand and lifts us up again, because he is genuinely interested in the overall well-being of people. He lifts us up when we are down, in order to restore us to new life.

This passage also tells us something important about the mother-in-law. She used her recovered health for renewed service. She did not fall back to a life of leisure, but rather, took the new opportunity with her regained health, to serve the Lord even better. Jesus helps us so that we may in turn help others. There is a lesson here for all of us, for when our prayers are answered and we receive a particular grace, it is meant to enable us to give glory to God and greater service to him in our lives.

The second segment of the Gospel deals with the masses of people coming to Jesus. People thronged to him for their various needs because they wanted something from him, mostly healing. Unfortunately it was their need that brought them to him. They did not love him for who he was, but for what he did for them. Our search for God should be in order to seek him alone. It is his mercy and grace which we implore in all our prayers and not only when we have certain needs or in times of trouble. Our prayer should be to seek God for himself, to be in his presence constantly and to one day be worthy to see his face. If the gifts we receive from the Lord do not produce in us an answering love and gratitude, then something is tragically wrong with our faith and the way we are living it.

The third and final point of the Gospel shows Jesus rising early to pray. Jesus knew that if he was to reach out to men, he must first meet his heavenly Father. The apostles went searching for Jesus and upon finding him said: Everyone is looking for you. They earnestly sought Jesus and found him while he was praying. The time we spend in daily prayer are special moments of encounter with the Lord, that provides us with faith, courage and the strength we need to lead our Christian lives with faith and charity as well as a sense of grateful duty.

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