THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.
It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in my being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link. The Second Reading is continuous, and follows on to the next Sunday.
First Reading: Job 7:1-4. 6-7
Job began to speak:
Is not man’s life on earth nothing more than pressed service,
his time no better than hired drudgery?
Like the slave, sighing for the shade,
or the workman with no thought but his wages,
months of delusion I have assigned to me,
nothing for my own but nights of grief.
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.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)
Psalm: Ps 146:1-6
R. Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.
Praise the Lord for he is good;
sing to our God for he is loving:
to him our praise is due. R.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem
and brings back Israel’s exiles,
he heals the broken-hearted,
he binds up all their wounds.
he fixes the number of the stars;
he calls each one by its name. R.
Our Lord is great and almighty;
his wisdom can never be measured.
The Lord raises the lowly;
he humbles the wicked to the dust. R.
Second Reading: Corinthians 9:16-19. 22-23
I do not boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it! If I had chosen this work myself, I might have been paid for it, but as I have not, it is a responsibility which has been put into my hands. Do you know what my reward is? It is this: in my preaching, to be able to offer the Good News free, and not insist on the rights which the gospel gives me.
So though I am not a slave of any man I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could. For the weak I made myself weak. I made myself all things to all men in order to save some at any cost; and I still do this, for the sake of the gospel, to have a share in its blessing.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
PAUSE again after this Reading and reflect on it like you did after the first Reading. The Community Acclamation follows and should be sung: e.g ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday!
We never say it… 🙂
Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark
He cured many who suffered from diseases of one kind or another.
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.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflection time again……. see if you can see and hear the links, connecting between the Frist Readings and the Gospel. After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..
DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES
If you have ever opened your eyes under water, or used a snorkel and face mask, or had the opportunity to use an aqualung, it is a very different world to explore isn’t it? I love snorkelling, and it is though the fish welcome you into their world. However, they need to be treated with respect, and one must be aware of ‘no-go’ zones especially where sharks are known to call that place, ‘home’ especially at meal times. So, this next section is going down into the Scriptures, which opens the pathway for us to be curious about The Word, and it will also develop an appetite in us to do this more often.
Focusing the Word
Key words and phrases
Jesus took her by the hand and helped her up.
He cured many.
This is why I came – preaching, healing, casting out devils.
Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.
Connecting the Word
to the first reading
Job speaks for the people who come to Jesus for healing. Job’s words give expression to the cries of the anonymous crowd who had gathered at Simon ‘s door in the Gospel.
to biblical culture
In some traditions in the Hebrew Scriptures, sickness, poverty, etc. were assumed to be punishment for sin. For Jesus, these conditions reflect the power of evil in the world and provide an opportunity to reflect God’s greater power: the good news.
Understanding the Word
Jesus clearly states the purpose of his mission
‘Let us go . . . that I may preach . . . For this purpose have I come.’ Again, the content of his preaching is not explicitly expressed. Instead, the focus is on the healings and exorcisms Jesus performs. In his ministry, the words and deeds of Jesus are inseparable, the words giving meaning to his deeds, his deeds confirming his words. In this way, too, the announcement of God’s kingdom is actualised as evil is driven out and the sick are healed. Taken together, the readings from last Sunday and this Sunday show Jesus driving a demon out of a man and healing a woman, at work in the synagogue and at home with his disciples, with strangers and with companions. The mission of Jesus is addressed to all sorts of people, in all kinds of environments, and all varieties of ills – a truly expansive and inclusive ministry.
This passage also contains the first of repeated commands in Mark’s Gospel to various characters not to disclose the identity of Jesus. Mark’s point seems to be that any statement about Jesus that does not include acknowledgment of his suffering and death is incomplete and will surely lead to misunderstanding. Only the cross will reveal Jesus’ full identity – and the nature of true discipleship.
A realhomilie from Fr.Kev
Dear One and All,
As usual, the sentiments and the messages in God’s Word are evergreen…..they are timeless words for all ages and seasons of life. Many times have I heard the echoes in the 1st Reading from Job, not only in other people, but in myself too. At times ‘life’ can be uphill, and full of speed humps along the way, and we wonder why? Or our prayer may be, “Dear Lord, give me the strength to keep on going, help me to see your purpose and your will.” If we remain a little bit open to the glimmers of hope; sure enough they come up ‘out of the blue’, as we say. It seems to me that in the Reading from Job, we have a hidden invitation to have an IMAX screen view of life, the world, and ourselves, and not be caught up in the old narrow Newsreel Cinema of yester year. However, in getting ‘real’ if we have a horrible tooth ache, that experience colors everything doesn’t it?
Let’s look at the Text Message of the Responsorial Psalm: Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted. What a fantastic community response to God’s Word. At the end of the day, the Lord is the faithful one par excellence, and will not leave us in the doldrums. I remember a great and wise old Priest, Fr. Bonaventure, CP who had us Junior Professed Students for a day of Recollection many years ago at Holy Cross Retreat, Templestowe VIC, and he said something like this….” If ever you may feel that you are at the bottom of the barrel, you probably are! But you are most probably resting on the palm of God’s hand, and you don’t know it…” As a young Seminarian, that made a deep impression on me, and still rings true today. I believe that Fr Bon was dead set right! Let’s look at the last verse of the Responsorial Psalm; it is a timeless prayer, which can rise from our heart when graced insight or faith comes out into the sunshine.
Our Lord is great and almighty;
His wisdom can never be measured.
The Lord raises the lowly;
He humbles the wicked to the dust. R
Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.
In the Gospel Reading, we can literally see Jesus walking out of the Synagogue with James and John to the House of Simon and Andrew. Now, the Synagogue in question here if I can remember correctly is only about the size of Tennis Court, if that! Then Simon and Andrew’s House was on the opposite corner, so it was not a long journey…..but notice Jesus went straightaway….let’s hold on to that. These days, the Synagogue is in ruins, but there is enough structure for one to get the idea of what it was like. Simon and Andrew’s House has a beautiful church built on top of it. The church floor is solid glass over the house. The Franciscans Friars have done a wonderful job in restoring, and excavating the site, and there is a real ‘feeling’ inside the Church of the holiness of this place, due to the experience of Salvation that Simon’s mother in law experienced, together with all the ‘faith’ of thousands upon thousands of Pilgrims who have visited this sacred site over the millennia.
Now let’s look in detail at what happened in this house…..Notice that Jesus immediately responds to the news that Simon’s mother in law was very sick. They did not have to ask Jesus to go to the House, he went to the House…now let’s look at what Jesus did in the house; because this is not just historical information, this is an incident of Salvation for the sick woman, and an example for all times. Salvation in this case means ‘experiencing and seeing’ which is a’ faith response’ the saving hand of God, in Jesus. Let’s go on with the details of this faith experience…..He went to her, and took her by the hand……and then what did Jesus do, He helped her up! Now, look at this in the light of Our Lord’s own Resurrection………The room in which the ill lady was could have been her possible tomb and in this case it is more like a Tomb; in Jesus helping her up, she rose to new life! Then what did she do? It says in the Gospel that she began to wait on them…does that mean that she went back into the Kitchen and prepared them something to eat? Maybe! But more so, it means that through this experience of Jesus breathing and touching ‘new life’ into her, she was now a changed person, and went on and ‘ministered’ the Good News of experiencing ‘healing’ and then seeing with the eyes of faith, God’s saving hand at work. Isn’t that fantastic? Now combine this experience with Jesus having ‘life’ re breathed into him by The Father at the moment of His Resurrection!! See the parallel? Remember the story of Zacchaeus up the tree, waiting to catch a glimpse of Jesus? Jesus called him and what did he do? He came straight down from the tree, because Jesus wanted to Dine in his House. Salvation came to Zacchaeus and in turn his life changed dramatically because he saw, and experienced the world differently because of the ‘new life’ that Jesus gave him. Jesus said to him, ‘Salvation has come to your House’. This is also a situation where the ‘power’ of the most high refutes evil. Not in a Hollywood style, but look at the last verse of the Psalm again….’The Lord raises the lowly;’ who then are the lowly? Those who have a poverty of spirit…those who hunger and hope in the Lord, as one who will never let them down, that is the spiritual condition that we Christians should always aspire to……but it just doesn’t happen! Like a fire in a beautiful stone hearth, it needs to be fed, it needs to be tendered, hence we have to look, and listen to the Words of God that are continually being spoken to us and His people all the time. If we feel like Job going through a very dry and hopeless period of life; we a not alone…look at Our Lord on the Cross….” My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”. Yet it was in that cry of dereliction from the Cross, that the pagan Roman soldier came to faith….” ‘In truth’ he said, ‘this is the Son of Man…’ Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.
Finally, let’s go back to the Gospel where Simon Peter’s mother in law immediately began to wait on them….in other words she realised her life would never be the same again, and she embarked into Ministry…..Zacchaeus after his experience with Jesus, did an about turn, and entered into Ministry……Jesus, after His Resurrection calls his Disciples to Go out in Mission and Ministry to the whole world. Then with the empowerment thus realised at Pentecost the timidity of the Disciples was transformed into loving boldness. Everyone understood them.
Well, what about us, and how can God’s Word of Hope come alive in us? That’s the big question! Taking the 1st Reading, and the Gospel together, we know for sure that God hears us; In God’s own time. ( Not my will but yours be done…as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer) So in our day to day lives, in our ‘down’ times the Lord visits us with Angels in human form. Why not take a little trip down Memory Lane, and re visit some of those times when you thought that you were at the bottom of the Barrel. Who came to you in your distress? What did that mean for your ‘faith-life’? As you reflect back on this human experience of salvation, did you change as a result of it? Were you in a better position to see the face of Christ in your brothers and sisters? Unless, we revisit some of these experiences, our inner spirit will not be enabled into Mission/Ministry/Service of others in renewed ways.
Let’s check out the lyrics of Anne Murray’s famous Song: You Needed Me. From her Album, Let’s Keep It That Way. Notice in this song that the one who comes to the rescue, needs the one who is rescued. Look at the parallel between Jesus and us…..
THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE OF SALVATION
I cried a tear, you wiped it dry,
I was confused, you cleared my mind,
I sold my soul; you bought it back for me,
And held me up, and gave me dignity,
Somehow you needed me.
YOU GAVE ME STRENGTH TO STAND ALONE AGAIN
TO FACE THE WORLD OUT ON MY OWN AGAIN
YOU PUT ME HIGH UPON A PEDESTAL
SO HIGH THAT I COULD SEE ETERNITY
YOU NEEDED ME, YOU NEEDED ME.
And I can’t believe it’s you, I can’t believe its true,
I needed you, and you were there,
And I’ll never leave, why should I leave, I’d be a fool,
‘cause I’ve finally found someone who really cares……..
You held my hand, when it was cold,
When I was lost, you took me home,
You gave me hope, when I was at the end,
And turned my lies back into truth again,
You even called me friend.
SOME REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS FOR YOUR FAMILY OR PRAYER/BIBLE STUDY GROUP
- Looking back over your life, as there been a special person(s) who have been the HUMAN FACE OF GOD to you? Who was this person? Alternatively, who were the people, and what was it about them, that mirrored the face of Jesus for you?
- Would you like to share with your family or group, a time when you were unexpectedly ‘touched’ by the Lord through a friend, staff member, boy or girl, parishioner, neighbour, Religious or Priest?
- Often in our place of work, and at home we can be taken for granted or take others for granted….not out of malice, but just because we have lots to do, and we have many things on our minds. Have you seen efforts made by other staff members at your place of work, or family members ‘reaching out’ to other people?
- Do you have any creative suggestions as to how we can be more aware of our individual, community and family giftedness?
So, I conclude with a sentence from Psalm 92, ‘If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts’. May God Bless you and your family and friends, and May we never forget each other, especially when we are held in conversation with the Lord,
OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………
This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. You might like to create your own permanent ‘sacred space’ in your home, where the Word of God is open, and a small tee light within a fire proof glass, could awaken in the minds and hearts of your family of the ‘real presence’ of God in His Word. Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. Someone in the family might like to be the leader, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…
Leader: The Lord who healed the sick and preached the good news is with us now to hear and answer our prayers.
1. That the leaders of God’s People continue to guide the Church courageously and creatively, we pray to the Lord: Lord hear our prayer.
2. That our national, state and local leaders serve us successfully and unselfishly, we pray to the Lord: Lord hear our prayer.
3. That our faith community work and pray together to help those in need of spiritual and material support, we pray to the Lord:Lord hear our prayer.
4. That all who are ill, including N. and N, may be healed, we pray to the Lord: Lord hear our prayer.
5. That doctors and nurses be blessed for their care of the sick and the dying, we pray to the Lord:Lord hear our prayer.
6. That the fevers of greed, violence, hatred and discrimination be healed, we pray to the Lord: Lord hear our prayer.
7. That all who have died, including N. and N, may rest in peace and glory, we pray to the Lord: Lord hear our prayer.
Leader: God of the good news, help us this week to be generous in our service and love of those who need our helping hands and hearts. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.
- 1. The Cross
ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.
- 2. The bread……………
ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.
- 3. The pain
ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT.
- 4. The joy………………
ALL WE SHALL SHARE IT.
- 5. The Gospel……………
ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.
- 6. The love…………
ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.
- 7. The light……………
ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.
- 8. The darkness…………….
ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.