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WSC REFLECTION GUIDE

Readings: Job 7:1-4, 6-7 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Psalm 147:1-6 February 8, 2009
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Mark 1:29-39

Word: The authority and word of Jesus Christ heal and renew our life.
Theme: Jesus Christ heals and renews our life when we receive Him and
preach the Good News of Salvation. [Evangelization]
Promise: “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.”
(Psalm 147:3)

Reflection:

The readings for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) speak of the different aspects
of evangelization as the most gratifying obligation of a Christian. The common
understanding of evangelization is preaching the gospel. As Christ’s followers, however,
it has a deeper meaning for us. It is the very witness of Christian life, and good works
done in a supernatural spirit…effective in drawing men to the faith. Furthermore, the
true apostle Is always on the lookout for occasions to announce Christ, either to
unbelievers to draw them towards the faith, or to the faithful to instruct, strengthen, and
incite them to a more fervent life, “for Christ’s love urges us on” (2Cor.5:14; Decree on
the Apostolate of Lay People, Vatican II,6). It also imitates what Jesus did on earth in
obedience to the Father: “…He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to
proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to
prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord” (Lk.4:18). He confirms this
mission as he declares: “…For this purpose have I come” (Mark 1: 38).

Christ’s mission is to spread the Gospel to every corner of the world (Mk.3:14). This is
the mission of the Church, which carries out the Lord’s command: ...go, therefore, and
make disciples of all the nations… teach them to carry out everything I have
commanded you… (Mt.28:19 & 20). As part of the Body of Christ, this is also the
purpose of the BLD Covenant Community …to empower the lay faithful in the task of
evangelization by promoting the values of the Kingdom of God among individuals,
couples, and families through various encounter and renewal programs. And our Vision
consists in this: … We give freely and fully of ourselves; love and serve one another as
we seek and proclaim God's Kingdom. We commit, as disciples of Jesus, to speak the
words and do the deeds of Christ among all peoples and nations where the Lord calls
us (BLD CoC).

The first reading from the Book of Job, confronts the problem of human suffering. Job
bewails the reality of man’s life on earth, and the commonality of human pain - all of us
are wounded beings, heirs to the original sin of our first parents. It is this state of
seeming hopelessness - My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle; they come to
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an end without hope” (Job 7:6) - that Jesus Christ came to save and to heal. But this
offer of salvation is not a magic formula or a token gift from some mysterious chance. It
is rather, a lifelong process requiring a lifelong transformation, until we become Christ-
like. As our theme suggests, Jesus Christ heals and renews our life when we
receive Him and preach the Good News of Salvation. This is the Christian lifestyle.
This is what Jesus came for.

In the second reading, St. Paul tells us that evangelization is the responsibility of all who
receive Christ in their lives. It is a joyful commitment, as it announces the truth that
saves: If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation
has been imposed on me and woe to me if I do not preach it! (1Cor.9:16). As we
are told, St. Paul has this apostolic zeal that far exceeds that of others. He is the first
true missionary who ventured across the seas to reach out to all, whatever their
personal circumstance may be. Here he lays down the proper attitude of the true
evangelizer: I offer the gospel free of charge… I have made myself a slave to all…
to the weak, I became weak…I have become all things to all… (1Cor.9:18b-22).
(This does not mean, however, that the authentic Christian life that clash with ways of
thinking currently in fashion and with the easy-going attitude of people should be
sacrificed. Sorry, please note, I don’t understand the context of this statement) Neither
should we forget that we preach and witness, “Christ crucified, a stumbling block to
Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God.” (1Cor.1:23-24)

In the gospel, St. Mark tells us how Jesus evangelized, not so much by instructions but
by his wondrous deeds and example. From the very start he comes to bring the fullness
of salvation – healing in the complete sense of the word. He didn’t just come to earth in
human form, to die on the cross and go back to heaven. He spent his life announcing
the Good News by teaching, preaching, restoring the sick to physical balance, and the
troubled psyche to sound mind. He cast out demons, gave sight to the blind and offered
hope to the anxious. Jesus came to restore the wholeness of the person, something
that begins in this life, and finds fulfillment when we are united with him at the end of
time. “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Ps. 147:3). That
is the promise that has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled and will always be fulfilled.

It is notable that in all the accounts of Jesus’ healing ministry, he always took time to
pray. It is an important reminder for us, that our work of evangelization can only be
done effectively when we are grounded in prayer. While we could say that everything
Jesus did was prayer, what he models for us is the need to spend quiet, uninterrupted
time with God. Doing “God’s work” is no substitute for sustaining a relationship with
Him. We should not confuse prayer with obligation or penance. It is a matter of
friendship, of mutuality. It is a sacred moment in which God’s heart can meet our heart.
It is where we can clearly find God’s direction for our apostolate. Although it is
important that prayer should lead us to social works, social work alone, cannot meet the
needs of the. The world needs saints. Holiness is not the privilege of a few; it is a gift
offered to all…If we doubt this it means we do not fully understand Christ’s intentions.
(John Paul II, Address to Catholic Educators). It means we are leaving out the
important part of his message.

Many, if not all of us, in one way or another, have received Christ’s healing power, and
were renewed when we accepted him as our Lord and Savior through the Encounter
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programs we attended. Let us ask ourselves if we have become true vessels of faith in
the way we have witnessed our lives to those in community, or in the places where we
live and work. Are those we have come in contact with, become more familiar with the
values of the Kingdom, or have they come to realize their thirst and hunger for God
through our witnessing? Let us examine ourselves if the urgency of the apostolate is
one of the demands of our being renewed, and whether we have the same dedication
and commitment as those first Christians, because the need today is no less great.
Everyone is looking for Jesus, and he invites us: “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also” (Mark 1: 38). It is incumbent upon us to be aware of the
world hunger and thirst for God. In fact all people need and want God, although often
they do not know, or show this. But more importantly, God is looking for them.

We have seen how Jesus himself is the Good News of our salvation, let us put to heart
what St. John Chrysostom wrote: There is nothing colder than a Christian who is
unconcerned about the salvation of others…Do not say ‘I am unable to help them’, for if
you are truly a Christian it is impossible for you to make such an admission. The
properties of natural things cannot be denied them: the same thing happens with this
affirmation, for it is in the nature of a Christian to act in this way…The light of Christians
cannot be hidden; a light that shines so brightly cannot be concealed.

PRAYER:
Father God, we seek you with all our hearts. Pour your grace upon us and heal us
where we need to be healed that we might follow you with our whole heart, soul and
strength and bring others to you. Help us to reach out to you in faith, trusting that you
can move obstacles as big as the mountains; a faith that can root us so deeply in the
love of Christ that, whether we are perfectly healed or not, we will remain peaceful
because we know that we will ultimately see full restoration. Amen.

Suggested Personal Reflection Guide:


1. Like Simon’s mother-in-law, do you express your gratitude to God for
blessings you have received by serving others?
2. Throughout his ministry, all forms of pain and suffering confront Jesus. As
Christians, it is our obligation to ease the pain and suffering of others. What
have you done when confronted with this?

Next Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:

February 9, 2009 (Mon): Gen 1:1-19; Ps 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 24, 35; Mk 6:53-56
February 10, 2009 (Tue): Gen 1:20-2:4; Ps 8:4-9; Mk 7:1-13
February 11, 2009 (Wed): Gen 2:4b-9, 15-17; Ps 104:1-2, 27-30; Mk 7:14-23
February 12, 2009 (Thurs): Gen 2:18-25; Ps 128:1-5; Mk 7:24-30
February 13, 2009 (Fri): Gen 3:1-8; Ps 32:1-2, 5-7; Mk 7:31-37
February 14, 2009 (Sat): Gen 3:9-24; Ps 90:2-6, 12-13; Mk 8:1-10

This Week’s Readings for Year of St. Paul:


Book of Galatians Chapters 1 – 2
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“Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”