On the Road Together for February 3&4
For February 3&4, 2018
Is not man's life
on earth a drudgery?
By Tracy Rodenborn
Director of RCIA
Our human need is often so great. In our first reading from the Book of Job, he is despairing with details that some of us can relate to at different times in our lives. He uses words like 'misery', 'drudgery', 'the night drags on and is filled with restlessness', and 'the days end without hope'. Job has lost everything at this point, including his family, and he is physically in pain. His lament is truly heartbreaking as he tries to make sense of his suffering and loss in light of what he knows about God.
In our Gospel, human need is so great that as soon as news gets around that Jesus can heal and cast our demons, “The whole town was gathered at the door.” And then, after healing many, Jesus has to sneak away for some respite and time alone for prayer. Human need even seems to overwhelm Jesus in this scene!
The readings this weekend offer a few different responses in light of our immense human need. The Psalm Response, directly proclaimed after Job’s heart wrenching lament, reassures us that the Lord does heal the brokenhearted. In our Gospel, Jesus is responding to our deep human need by healing those who are coming to him. Here we see that Simon and Andrew have not abandoned their family ties to follow Jesus, but are returning home with Jesus - and meeting a need there. Simon’s mother-in-law is ill with what we can assume is a dangerous fever. Jesus grasped her hand and helped her up. She was immediately restored to her health and her life and serves them. As we will see many times in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’s physical touch, even when he doesn’t even know it, heals people and restores them to life.
This healing touch from Jesus is remarkably available to us even now in our sacraments. Through our sacraments, Christ touches us, grasps us by the hand and helps us up. Mark’s Gospel, with its emphasis on the healing touch of Jesus, gives us a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the sacraments, and in a special way on the sacraments of healing: Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick.
As we reflect on Jesus’ ministry of healing and preaching, and consider Job’s predicament of how his life of suffering does not match up with what he knows about God, we see the place where our immense human need and the divine meet. Though we may not be able to explain the problem of evil here, what we do know is this: God heals the brokenhearted. Jesus’s ministry is one of healing and restoration. All in all, God utters a defiant “no” to our suffering and pain. Where does our immense human need and the divine meet? In our sacraments, in the Church, in our world and in each other. It is in all these places that Jesus grasps us by the hand and helps us up.
Readings for Mass
Sent by Beverly Aviles on Thursday, February 1 at 2:32PM