5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading: Job 7:1–4,6–7

Job spoke, saying: Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings? He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages. So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me. If in bed I say, “When shall I arise?” then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn. 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.

Second reading: 1 Cor. 9:16–19,22–23

Brothers and sisters: 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! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.

Gospel: Mk. 1:29–39

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

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.

In other words

by Fr. Magdaleno Fabiosa, SVD (St. Arnold Janssen Home, Tagbilaran City, Bohol)

The Second Reading of today ends up with one aspect of the Christian art of loving—to be one with the other. When I was preparing for this reflection for today, this part of the Second Reading from the 1st Letter to the Corinthians stood out as if lighted from below. I was reminded of an experience a mother shared during a summer gathering of a reform movement in the Church. Here is the experience:

After all the work I did during the day in the house, I always looked forward to the time when I could sit down in front of the television and watch telenovelas in the evening. However, when my three boys started to get older and had the taste for basketball, I noticed that while they watched the TV with me, they always wanted to switch channels during commercial breaks. They wanted to know the score of the game that was going on in another channel. They never dared asking to watch a basketball game while my favorite telenovela was on the air.

Then during a Lenten recollection my husband and I attended, the topic developed by the priest was the Christian Art of Loving. What remained with me was his explanation of what it means to be “one with the other”—to weep with those who weep, to be happy with those who are happy, and to put oneself in the shoes of another. Through simple and concrete experiences, the priest was able to convince me that I too had to be “one with my children” to truly love them. During the recollection, God gave me the grace to see that I had to start with my children at home.

Returning from the recollection that Sunday, I told the kids as we sat in front of the T.V. that tonight we could watch a basketball game. They were incredulous. I sat down with them during the whole game. Now and then my youngest would look back at me as if not believing what was happening. After half a year of watching basketball games on the T.V., I noticed that I started liking it. Together with my eldest boy, we rooted for one team and my younger son with my husband rooted for another. One evening, while the two teams were playing, I was constantly shouting and clapping because my team was winning. Then my youngest boy shouted at me and said: “Ang ingay mo naman, mommy!” (Mom, you’re too noisy!)

This comment made me sit back and with a lump in my throat I was on the verge of crying because I realized that I have truly become one with my three boys. I have shown in a concrete way my love for them.

The result of all this is that I have a very good, open, and easy rapport with both of them. In fact, my eldest boy, who is in his third year of high school, talked to me about a girl in school who had a crush on him and he on her. I suggested that he bring her to the house so that we all could get acquainted with her, which he did. I have become their friend, and the price I had to pay for this was giving up a telenovela in the evening.

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