February 7: Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Readings: 1. Job 7:1-4,6-7; Psalm: 147A; 2. 1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23; Gospel: Mark 1:29-39;
Our Scripture selections for today seem somewhat oddly matched. Starting with Job, we might wonder where the Liturgy of the Word is wanting to take us. But with some idea of the larger picture of salvation history, we begin to understand how human woes can be comprehended within the universal divine plan.
Job’s dire predicament gives the impression of utter desperation, and an extreme case of need. Of course, in the context of the Old Testament writings and Israel’s faith, there is the more hopeful outlook that the Almighty One will intervene to console, bless and renew life for Job.
In Corinthians, Paul makes his life’s mission patently clear. Most evident in these few verses is his repeated use of the word “Gospel”, and his being chosen to proclaim it. That Good News is a message he wants the whole world to hear. In relation to that, the blessings he refers to highlight Jesus’ saving work made wonderfully visible in life and death. Paul, therefore, knows it is a great honour to take this Good News to every part of the world.
As Mark’s Gospel narrative picks up the pace, we see Jesus in action, healing Simon’s mother-in-law, and curing any other afflicted soul who sought him out. Feeling compelled to move on from place to place, especially in Galilee, Jesus conveys a sense of urgency about proclaiming his message of good news. That is accompanied by miraculous acts, that show the people that the change his words promised is real.
With some insight regarding these biblical texts, we naturally find ourselves able to fathom something of their purpose. Jesus is a person of great power and energetic commitment. He truly reveals how God in all his wisdom planned to bring about a change of fortune for people of every age and land.