Today as we reflect on the word of God in the first reading from Job, we meet a man who, reflecting on the truth of the human situation and the emptiness of life, looks through the eyes of God and sees the miseries of life. Job speaks to us especially as we live in a consumer society that seems to quantify life with accumulation of material things. He wants us to see beyond property and understand life not by quantifying things but in comparison to the fullness of life in God. Job helps us to see why it is vain to labour without God because God is life! This is why we are invited to search for God.
In the second reading, St. Paul shows the Corinthians of yesterday and us today that our greatest concern in life is to preach the gospel, the Good News. The Good News is the life giving truth that God loves us. This is the joy and fulfilment of every soul. No material thing can bring us joy, only the gospel. Having encountered Christ the Gospel of the Father, Paul was compelled to spread it to all because of the life and transformation he received in and through the gospel. He spread it for free, the joy of the gospel moved him to ceaselessly sharing it.
St Paul challenges us to reflect on our understanding of the gospel and as the baptised children of God to reflect on our zeal today to spreading the gospel. How many of us would serve the Gospel for free? How many of us are making business out of the gospel today? To be Christian demands an encounter with Jesus Christ the Word of the Father and to lovingly and generously share with others. How many of us share the gospel with friends whom we share jokes and gossip with since the beginning of the year 2024? Are we burning within to share the gospel today like Paul?
If we have encountered Christ the Word we will never be the same. The word of God sets us on fire and our hearts grow and care for the spiritual welfare of others becomes our priority. We cannot rest, we are on fire and on the move. We like him can become all things for all people. We do not segregate, we love and serve like Jesus, we do not give up on anyone. The gospel presents to us our Lord who is close to the people attending to our human situation. He sees the plight of the people and concerns himself. We also realise the pattern of Jesus’ day. Prayer first, then work. He begins by being with the Father then he brings the Father’s love to the people. The mother-in-law of Simon Peter is healed and ministers to the Lord and His disciples. Saved to serve.
Dear friends as Christians we learn the truth of our nature as human beings and how being God’s children does not, for example, take away pain and guarantees good health all the time, but how we can still see , meet and serve God even in adverse circumstances like Job. It is unchristian to think that being sick or poor is a proof that God has deserted us. Even the sons and daughters of God suffer like Job yet that does not blur their vision of their Father. Equally true, it is wrong to equate the love of God or his presence to riches, success, and so on only.
Let us today learn like Job to see life through the eyes of the Lord. To be able to do so we need the healing of Jesus, we need to be healed of our image of God, if it is only a God who gives and gives blessings especially of the material kind.
Jesus is here to heal us, to make us complete. Complete in knowing and accepting ourselves in the loving understanding of God. He also reminds us that the gospel is preached for healing the individual and society. Our society is in serious need of healing, especially in its blindness to the plight of the poor. It needs to be healed of its great poverty, not the poverty of money but the poverty of love as we see it manifested in wars and chaos all over the world.
Simon brought Jesus home and this meant healing for his mother-in-law. Today our task is the same. Through hospitality and prayer let us allow Jesus into our homes so that our families may experience healing. Like the mother-in-law of Simon, we may be raised from all that has bowed us down. Having been healed we learn from the mother-in-law of Simon that we are to serve. We are baptised to be servants of the gospel and of the Kingdom of God, not its masters or manipulators. We can ask ourselves, how am I serving the Lord today so that the Gospel is proclaimed, and the healing grace of God is showered upon His people? How am I using my skills, talents, gifts and resources for the spread of the Gospel?