Monday, February 09, 2015

5th Sunday B of Ordinary Time

Major Point: From the Gospel of the 5th Sunday: The primary mission of Christ is to preach the Word: Himself. But before He does that, He exorcises. He drives out the demons because otherwise, the people are not able to hear. The have ears but cannot hear. They cannot understand what is being said because it is of another order. As Saint Exupery said: “It is only with the heart that one understands rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Hence, the need for prayer and the sacrament of penance in order to be able to hear the Word of God. Like is known by like. Only God knows God.
Mark 1 ,29-39: 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.

Rising very early before dawn, he left 
and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, "Everyone is looking for you."
He told them, "Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come."
So he went into their synagogues,
preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
Consider the problem today. Consider that 90% of the women in the Church are contracepting. Consider the opinion of the pope that more than ½ of the marriages may be invalid. Consider that confessions in an average church is 45 minutes on Saturday afternoon. Consider that the majority of the men and women in the Church may be in sin.
                What does that say for the capacity to hear the Word? This is a little twist on what Pope Francis is saying, but Healing and Preaching/Preaching and Healing go together. Why is this so? Because Christ Himself is  the Word, and you must become the Word to “hear” it. Hearing and knowing are an ontological identification. A man knows his wife by becoming one flesh with her.
* * * * * *
Pope Frrancis: “Faithful to this teaching, the Church has always considered the care of the sick as an integral part of its mission."
VATICAN CITY, February 08, 2015 ( - Here is the translation of Pope Francis' words before and after the recitation of the Angelus prayer to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today's Gospel (cfr Mk. 1,29-39) presents Jesus, who, after having preached on the Sabbath at the synagogue, heals many sick people. Preach and heal: this is Jesus' main activity in his public life. Through preaching He announces the Kingdom of God and through healing He shows that it is close, that the Kingdom of God is in our midst.
Entering the house of Simon Peter, Jesus sees that his mother-in-law is in bed sick; immediately he takes her hand, heals her and makes her stand up. After the sunset, when, the Sabbath was over, when the people could leave and bring Him the sick, He heals a multitude of people afflicted by every kind of sickness: physical, mental, spiritual. Coming to the earth to announce and fulfill the salvation of the whole man and all mankind, Jesus shows a particular fondness for those wounded in body and in spirit: the poor, the sinners, the possessed, the sick, the marginalized. He thus reveals Himself has a physician of both body and soul, the good Samaritan of man. He is the true Savior! Jesus saves, Jesus cares, Jesus heals!
This reality of Jesus' healing of the sick invites us to reflect on the meaning and value of sickness. This reminds us also of the World Day of the Sick, which we will celebrate on Wednesday, February 11th, the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes. I bless the initiatives that are being prepared for this Day, in particular the Vigil that will take place in Rome on the evening of February 10th. And here I pause to remember the president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers, Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, who is very ill in Poland. Let us say a prayer for him, for his health because it was he who prepared this World Day. And he accompanies us with his suffering in this day. Let us pray for Archbishop Zimowski.
The salvific work of Christ does not end with his person during his earthly life; it continues through the Church, sacrament of love and of the tenderness of God for mankind. Sending his disciples in mission, Jesus confers upon them a dual mandate: announce the Gospel of salvation and heal the sick (Mt.10,7-8). Faithful to this teaching, the Church has always considered the care of the sick as an integral part of its mission.
"The poor and the suffering you will always have with you", Jesus warns (cfr Mt. 26,11), and the Church continuously finds them on the street, considering the sick as a privileged path to encounter Christ, to welcome and serve Him. To care for a sick person, to welcome him and serve him is to serve Christ. The sick are the flesh of Christ!
This also happens in our time, when, despite the many advances in science, the interior and physical suffering of people raises serious questions on the meaning of sickness, pain and on the reasons for death. These are existential questions, to which the pastoral action of the Church should respond in the light of faith, having before our eyes the Cross, in which the entire salvific mystery of God the Father appears, who out of love for mankind did not spare his only Son (cfr Rm. 8,32). Therefore, each one of us is called to bring the light of the Gospel and the strength of grace to those who suffer and to those who assist them, family members, doctors, nurses, so that the service to the sick may be fulfilled ever more with humanity, with generous dedication, and with evangelical love, with tenderness.
The Mother Church, through our hands, caresses those sufferings, heals those wounds and does it with a mother's tenderness.

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