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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Feb. 5, 2012

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

February 5, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Cycle B. Readings:

1) Job 7:1-4, 6-7

Psalm 147:1-6

2) 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23

Gospel: Mark 1:29-39

The topic of the health trials that my family had experienced in the previous five years came up in a recent conversation with a friend, a West Coast Catholic editor. He said something to the effect that, "You must think God really has it in for you."

With two brain surgeries for myself (successful) and breast cancer for my wife (who is still doing well), I understood what he meant, but, somewhat reflexively, I said, "No, I think we're really blessed!"

And I do.

I'm now six years past my second surgery and working out at the gym at about the same level as before my surgeries. My wife continues to teach English as a second language and to assure that all of the ESL students in her department are on track to graduate. We both love our jobs. By the grace of God, we are doing well. Things could be so much worse.

Job, in today's first reading, brings to mind that all of us face the drudgery of daily life, filled sometimes with trouble and restless nights, remembering that "life is like the wind."

"I shall not see happiness again," the reading concludes.

But the psalm draws us back to hope, not of our own creation, but from God, "for he is good. ... He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ... The Lord sustains the lowly; the wicked he casts to the ground." And the psalm's refrain repeats throughout the reading: "Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted."

What is asked of us but to heed God's call for our lives? For Paul, it is the obligation to preach the Gospel, to do all in his power to win others to receive this good news of the incarnation of Jesus.

In the Gospel, Jesus is impelled by his mission to continue healing the sick and preaching, moving from village to village.

Each of us is called beyond our personal trials and sufferings. Each of us is comforted by God's goodness, our broken hearts healed. Each of us is drawn to enflesh the Gospel where God has placed us, where we live our lives in our families and workplaces and communities. Because of this, we have hope (and faith and love) that will endure.


How have you experienced God's solace in your own trials? How is God challenging you to live out the Gospel in your family, among your co-workers and friends?


"Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come" (Mark 1:38 bc).


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