Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Bulletin cover and my column

Feb. 4, 2018 Bulletin Cover

Dear Followers of the Healing Christ,

Today’s gospel is one of my favorites, Mark 1:25-39. Jesus is brought to the house of Simon’s mother-in-law where she lay sick. Jesus reached out, “grasped her hand,” and helped her up. I can’t image how she felt as her hand rested in his. She may have thought that healing would never come to her. She may have dreamed that her life was over because of her illness. Hope came to her on her sickbed.

Imagine feeling the hand of Jesus reaching out toward your weakness. Hold on to the beauty of your imagination in this gospel to find your hand in the grasp of Jesus who wants you to live and thrive. One important thing to consider is the way you need to be lifted up. Perhaps your bitterness is weighing you down. Perhaps the grief you carry for the death of a spouse or child creates only darkness for you. Loneliness, the threat of a job loss, or the silence you hear within your family, are all places where Jesus needs to enter your life.

Even in this first chapter of Mark’s gospel we hear this reference to his own resurrection. This action of being ill or separated from others, then being cured and physically helped up, is in many ways the real rhythm of change, of dying to self and being restored to new life. This is our mission in the Church to be lifted up from our sin, failure and doubt so to live for others.

Jesus very clearly helps us restore relationships in his mission on earth. The disciples bring to him the ill and marginalized of the village. Mark’s clarity of Jesus’ mission is for us to take seriously as well. Jesus desires wholeness for people. This is the reason he was born into our world in the first place. His ministry is about people. The redemption happens among the fragile because the weary and poor so often teach all of us how to need God and how to live with great humility.

Jesus longs to grasp our hands and to help us up. He wants us to be on our feet and to help others as he does with Simon’s mother-in-law in the gospel. He wants us to live with hope and healing in our world. Jesus wants the best for us. This is the result of being in relationship with Christ Jesus. This is the beginning of eternal life. This is love now that will become love later. This is peace now that will be peace for all eternity. Jesus’ love in this healing story is the same love that will grasp our hearts here on earth and even for all eternity.

Here are some things to consider this week:

What is the message you desire to hear from Jesus at this time in your life?

What areas of your life need to be lifted up with his help and brought to freedom and hope?

Where is Jesus calling you to serve with such new life and integrity?

 

Blessings,

Fr. Ron

 

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