Celebrate Sunday Mass - 2.4.24
FEBRUARY 4, 2024 -- The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
2/4/2024 (3 weeks ago)
By Deacon Keith Fournier
My friends, brothers, and sisters in the Lord,
The first reading for Holy Mass this Sunday is an excerpt from the seventh chapter of the Book of Job. The Book of Job helps point out the path to authentic spirituality and mature faith.
The background of the Book is a dispute between Satan, whom the New Testament rightly refers to as the "accuser of the brethren" (Rev. 12:10), and God. Satan contends that Job served God for what He got from Him not for who God is. This was not true. And Job's response to all that befalls him demonstrates this.
At the beginning of this book, we find the mystery of true faith and authentic spirituality revealed. After even his own wife told him to "curse God and die," Job spoke these words of caution and wisdom to her, "Are even you going to speak as senseless women do? We accept good things from God; and should we not accept evil? "(Job 2:10)
Later, in the middle of his discourse with three alleged friends - all of whom are telling Job that he is responsible for his own suffering - Job added the following acclamation which gets to the heart of the mettle of this man named Job, "even if He slay me, I will hope in Him." (Job 13:15). WOW! How many of us can say that.
Our passage today is found in the middle of this discourse with his so called "friends". Job is speaking of his sufferings. They do not detract him from staying faithful to the Lord, nor are they a punishment from the Lord, as one of his "friends" told him. They are a test, which he shall pass. He shows us the way to do the same when we suffer. Like Job, we are to always stay faithful to the Lord.
Our second reading is taken from the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. It shows us his evangelical heart. He is "under compulsion" he says, to preach the Gospel. He "becomes all things to all persons" in order to bring them all to faith in Jesus Christ and Baptism into the mystical Body of Christ, the Church.
Do we feel this way about the people around us who do not know the Lord? We should. Jesus is the Savior the Father sent for all men and women. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And all of us are called to tell this Good News to the whole world. How are we doing? Are we leaving "evangelism" to others?
In the Gospel passage for today's Holy Mass, we continue in the first chapter of St. Mark's account. Jesus is engaged in his public ministry and the kingdom of God is breaking through. All that was promised in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, about the Messiah healing, setting people free from the grip of the devil, and establishing the kingdom is occurring. Those with eyes of living faith, can see it. Those who looked for a different type of Kingdom, cannot see it.
JESUS heals Peter's mother-in-law, and she gets up and serves Him. He raises her by the hand. He does the same for all who turn to Him, including you and me. Then, the people brought all the sick and the possessed to him. He healed many and cast out many demons... Jesus, fully divine, but fully human, was tired.
Then, in the morning, He rose and went to a lonely place to pray. But his disciples told Him "...everyone is looking for you." Everyone is still looking for Jesus Christ, whether they know it or not. And, our task, as His disciples, His missionaries in today's challenging age, is to bring the whole world to Him.
Do we believe this? Are we doing it? We should, and we can.
In the Gospel of St Mark, we read this account of the sending of the Twelve on Mission: "Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick -no food, no sack, no money in their belts."
"They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them. So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them." (Mark 6:7-13)
He still sends us two by two. We are now "them" - the ones Jesus sends in this hour. He still works His saving and redemptive mission in and through us because we are members of His Mystical Body, the Church.
The Catholic Church has always taught that every single human being on the face of the earth has a right to hear the liberating Gospel message of Jesus Christ as fully revealed in the heart of His Catholic Church. That will be accomplished in this hour by you and me, no matter what our state in life, or specific vocation. We are all baptized into Christ and called to participate in the saving mission of His Church.
Have a wonderful Lord's Day,
Deacon Keith Fournier, JD, MTS, MPhil
Dean of Catholic Online School
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