Sunday, February 8, 2009

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I'm going to experiment today and see whether I have the ability to pray with my blog for Sunday's readings.  

Today's readings come from Job: 1-4, 6-7   Psalm 147    1 Cor 9: 16-19, 22-23  and Mark 1: 29-39

I invite you to join me this morning as I pray over today's readings

In our first reading today, we hear of Job who is clearly lamenting his lot in life:
"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle;
they come to an end without hope.
Remember that my life is like the wind;
I shall not see happiness again"

Job's response to catastrophic losses--the loss of his entire family--is heart-wrenching. Job is in the ditch, and he grieves by losing the will to live.  The book of Job is gripping because we read of a man in deep pain.  He has absolutely nothing left except himself. 

It is also gripping because we probably know or have known a few Jobs in our life, especially in this current economy. People are in pain, and life is hard. Those who staff suicidal hotlines, I have read, are overwhelmed by the number of people who have been calling.  

Yet, we also hear in today's Gospel of Mark Jesus who heals the sick and drives out demons.  

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Jesus comes to the people and cares for them. He desires us to have life, and that he will help us with our own demons.  He doesn't offer us financial stability. He offers the world his love.  

Demons can come in many forms. For Job, it is utter hopelessness--that all meaning to life has been lost. There's alcoholism. Gambling. Drugs. Jealousy and Anger. Etc. and Etc. I think all of us have demons inside of us that we struggle with.  

For those who are in recovery, the road to healing involves a certain awareness of powerlessness. "I am powerless over my drinking." "I am powerless over these thoughts of hopelessness." These demons grip us and overwhelm us.  The acknowledgement of powerlessness is important, because then we are more free to accept help.  

I know my own demons--at least some of them anyway.  I can, at least partially, relate to Job's suffering. But, I have been blessed in those moments of utter despair with people who showed me great love and kindness. I found God working in my fellow human beings.  

Sometimes, I pray: "Jesus, I need help.  Help me. Jesus, I need help. Help me." 

Lord, in your great kindness and mercy, free us from anything that keeps us from living our lives to its fullest. Many people are crying out for help. May you give us the strength to lift up one another.  

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