Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Book of Job 7:1-4, 6-7, Psalm 147:1-6, First Letter to the Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23, & Mark 1:29-39
In today’s first reading, God’s future prophet, Job, cries out in great misery. If you are having a good day today, you might smile at hearing his lament and say to yourself, “I’ve been there.” If you are having a not-so-good day, when you hear his dejection, you might mumble to yourself, “I’m there with you, Job. The only difference is they aren’t going to write a book with my name for a title like they did for you. I’m not that important.”
Job is like a boat that has lost its sail, compass, rudder, and keel. He is adrift in self-dejection and pity. He has lost everything and so has lost himself in himself. Everything has been taken away, and he has nothing to give. His search for meaning has landed him on the “pity-list” of life, and it seems this is where the journey ends.
Job and His Friends by Ilya Repin, circa 1869
In our second reading, Paul finds meaning in being a person who has within him a fire to preach the Gospel. Paul’s sail is his own spirit; his keel is his faith and his rudder, the desire to help save whom he can. Paul finds his meaning in being part of God’s being made known through his preaching. He has been given much and is desperate to share it.
In Mark’s Gospel narrative, we watch Jesus going about doing something good. He is the Good News, and His meaning is within Him, which cannot be taken away. We see Him cure a friend and then go off to pray. Praying is the experience we, too, are invited to before doing something good with Him. Jesus tells His disciples, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also.”
Job has lost his meaning by losing all his worldly goods and family. Many of us have had similar losses, but we have maintained faith and meaning. Jesus offers us His experience of prayerfully receiving Him, thereby prompting us to move on to other locations. Saint Paul renounced all his achievements to live in the power of the resurrection.
Our meaning is based on our being in Christ’s goodness. If you have a good secret or joke, you cannot wait to share it. The good wants to be distributed. Job lost his sense of being good by losing his goods. We are, each of us, good, which cannot be taken from us, only shared. We can easily forget our goodness, and after all, that is why we pray. Jesus went off to pray before departing. We will follow Him in sharing His goodness to the degree we are reminded in our prayers, just who we are. Prayer then is the experience of being found and then sent rather than being lost and meaningless. I wish you “smooth sailing.”
Question of the Day: How will you in “bad days” turn to Jesus in prayer for comfort and guidance?
Prayer: “Praise the Lord who heals the brokenhearted.” Psalm 147