HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
TOPIC: THE MINISTRY OF LOVE AND SERVICE OF JESUS
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Gospel: Mk 1:29-39
Message # 113: “What Are You Afraid Of?”
1. The Marian Message
a) The Blessed Mother acknowledges the fact that we are living in difficult and troubled times. This is particularly true with regards to her children who try their best to faithfully live the Gospel. She mentions about the violence of the world, the attacks of Satan, the errors being spread all over and the sins and infidelity of people (letter j). b) These things most surely will make us afraid and may immobilize us. But the Blessed Mother assures us: there is nothing to fear since this is a call from the heavenly Father to undergo this purification, and the Blessed Mother has chosen us and prepared us for this hour (letter o).
c) Finally she exhorts us to live “in serenity of spirit and without fear, even in the midst of the anxieties and threats of your time” (letter p). Let us not be obsessed with trying to know what the future will look like: “do not be always peering into the future to see what is going to happen” (letter q). What we need to do is just to live the present with complete trust and confidence in God and in the Blessed Mother’s care and protection.
2. The Sunday Readings
a) In the first reading, Job expresses the sad reality about life: “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?” He considers man as a slave or hireling. This may sound too negative a view about life. But this is the truth – a painful truth. We can never find complete happiness in our life on earth. This realization should lead us to long for heaven, which is our true home. There is, therefore, no reason for us to be attached to this world. Rather, our gaze and attention should be focused on achieving the fullness of joy and salvation in our heavenly home.
b) The Responsorial Psalm invites us to praise God, despite all the troubles and pains in this life: “Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.” God is not to be blamed for our miseries in life. In fact, it is He who “heals the brokenhearted.” In times of pain and misery, we turn to God, and there is always reason to be hopeful for a better tomorrow.
c) St. Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, reminds himself of his duty to preach the good news to the people. Particularly in times of pains and sorrows, the Gospel must be preached zealously. Otherwise, “woe to me if I do not preach it!”
d) The Gospel is a brief description of a typical day of the Lord in his public ministry. He goes around, preaching and healing the sick, and doing acts of charity to everybody. People flock to him, and he is always busy everyday. But he makes it a point to wake up very early the next morning to pray. The whole picture of the ministry of Jesus is that of mercy, compassion and charity for the needy, coupled with his zeal for the fulfillment of the will of the heavenly Father.
e) The message of the Blessed Mother, “What are you Afraid of?” is closely related to the readings. Life is full of sorrows, pains and troubles. But is if we are always close to Jesus, the source of all blessings and salvation, there really is nothing to be afraid of. And like St. Paul, we have to spread this message to the people of our time who are full of stress, insecurities and fears.
3. Points for Reflection
a) “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose, I have come.” The disciples were already beginning to enjoy the popularity of Jesus among the people. But he tells them it’s time to move on, that his mission isn’t to maximize his popularity, but to preach the gospel to all of Israel – this is what his Father sent him to do, and no opportunity for mere personal glory will distract him from it. He had to remind his followers time and again that he is not a politician wanting to gain more popularity and success. Rather, he has come to serve and to bring the good news to all people. His example is an important lesson for us, especially if we are leaders in the Church. Our focus is to serve others, not to gain popularity and honors. We must not lose sight of our basic calling, namely, to fulfill God’s plan, not our plan. As Blessed Mother Teresa said, “We are called not to be successful, but to be faithful.”
b) “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” By his example, Jesus is telling us that prayer is very essential in our life if we really want to know and follow the will of the heavenly Father. Prayer is not just asking for favors from God. Rather, it is our communication with God – to know His will and to have the strength, guidance and inspiration to fulfill it. Oftentimes, we willfully forgo our prayers because we say we are too busy. But according to the example of Jesus, it is very clear that despite his perfection as God and his very busy schedule, he seriously finds time to be alone in order to pray. He is telling us, in fact, that if we are busy, the more there is the need to pray harder and longer. c) “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” These words of St. Paul must be the motto of every Christian. The gift of faith we have received is not supposed to be hoarded and kept inside us. It must be shared and proclaimed, especially in our present time. The Church, through Pope Benedict XVI, is calling for a “new evangelization” in order to counteract the spread of the culture of selfishness, greed and materialism that leads to human misery and death. A Christian who does not share his faith – who does not actively take part in the mission of evangelization – is not being true to his Christian dignity and vocation. Merely going to Church on Sunday is never enough. We have to reach out to others and become missionaries of the faith in our own little way.
4. Closing Song:
Pananagutan – “Walang sinuman ang nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang”
QUESTIONS FOR SHARING IN THE B.E.C.
1. Ano ang mga paraan ng pagpapalaganap ng mga aral ni Kristo na maaari nating magawa bilang karaniwang Katoliko?
2. Lahat tayo ay maraming pinagkakaabalahan araw-araw. Ano ang mga praktikal na paraan upang makapagdasal pa rin tayo sa bawat araw? Naparito si Hesus upang maglingkod. Nakikita ba natin sa mga lider ng Simbahan – mga pari at layko – ang mapagpakumbabang paglilingkod?