5th Ordinary Sunday, Year B,

Job 7:1-4, 6-7 / 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23 / Mark 1:29-39

There is suffering and pain in this world.

We are weak and fragile human beings. No matter how strong we are, we are not superhuman beings. No matter how high a position or status we have in society, we are not indispensable. We are flesh and blood, and we can succumb to illness and diseases. Maybe our hurt is not physical but emotional such as marriage in distress, a child’s rebellion, or a friend’s betrayal. Thus emotionally, we can be discouraged from failures, and hurt and suffer from arguments and criticisms.

In the 1st reading, what Job said may probably express some of our thoughts: 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 work man with no thoughts but his wages.
That reflection could possibly express the stark reality of our lives. There is no guarantee that we will not succumb to anything from aches and pains to health issues and life-threatening diseases.
All this sounds dark and depressive, but that is the reality of life.

Today’s Gospel passage also reminds us of this reality of life. But It gives us hope in the face of this dark and gloomy reality of life.
Jesus went about in His ministry of healing and deliverance. He cured Peter’s mother-in-law of her fever, and those who are sick and possessed by demons were brought to Him. Jesus cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another.

The gospel shows the human need for comfort and healing being fulfilled by divine power and love.
The gospel also tells us a deeper aspect of life, and that is the power of prayer over the reality of human need.

Jesus went off early in the morning to a lonely place to pray. It is in prayer that Jesus is empowered and strengthened in His mission of proclaiming the Good News through healing and deliverance. And that reminds us of this: Life is fragile handle with prayer.
When the fragility of life is exposed by sickness and diseases, then prayer is the remedy and the necessity.

More than just a remedy, prayer brings us to understand one of the fundamentals of our faith, and that is redemptive suffering.

Redemptive suffering is what we see on the Cross.
Jesus suffered and even died to save us.
Jesus called us to carry our cross and to follow Him as His disciples.
When we face our cross of sickness, diseases, and suffering, we too must follow what Jesus did.
That divine power will help us to understand what redemptive suffering is.
That divine power will also give us hope that with our prayer, our suffering will lead us to salvation.
And that is what the Cross promises us:

That by His suffering and death on the Cross Jesus will heal us and save us.