Gospel Reflection – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

‘Praise the Lord who heals the brokenhearted.’ That’s our Psalm response for today. When we pick up the book of Psalms we come face to face with the human condition: beauty and joy, heartache and hate, stress, and peace, praise and even, yes, murderous thoughts. Everything is there. We are not alone in our bleaker thoughts. Countless have been brokenhearted before us.
Knowing this doesn’t make it any easier, not really. But when we see today’s Gospel we can see hope. Christ made his ministerial life into a powerful show of love, of empathy. If any text shows how much we are loved by him, it is today’s Gospel. He went from here to there healing those who were sick. And, when he retreated because he was tired, his disciples searched for him. And when they found him he replied: ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ He was selfless. We know that from his death on the Cross. But we know it from his ministry, too. Selfless and full of love to those who were hurting.
We don’t need a limb hacking off or boils all over our bodies to be candidates for Jesus’s healing. Many of us need healing from heartbreak, in one of the countless forms that might take. Many of us will relate to what Job has to say in the first reading:
‘Lying in bed I wonder, “When will it be day?”‘
Risen I think, ‘How slowly evening comes!’
Restlessly I fret till twilight falls.
Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed,
and vanished, leaving no hope behind.
Remember that my life is but a breath,
and that my eyes will never again see joy.’
So, remember that Christ wants so very much to heal us. It is his dear wish. Healing can take various forms. Sometimes it is a miraculous, inexplicable wiping clean of the slate. Other times it is a coming to terms with grief or trauma, a reunderstanding of something that once floored our spirit. It can take time. It can be a process.
When we are in those dark times, let us find a quiet place and enter into encounter with God, thanking him for life even when it hurts, giving ourselves to him even when we can barely function properly. We ask for his grace, that we may be healed, and that God may become the peace and the joy of our lives. After all, we are loved by him! Amen.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (1:29-39)
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped, her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.
In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’
And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.
The Gospel of the Lord.