Sunday 4 February 2018

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018 

Lent begins in 9 or 10 days depending of if you attended Saturday evening mass or Sunday Mass this week. This is the last full week of ordinary time before that season begins. Even as we are spending time thinking ahead to Lent, we need to live each day in the season it falls.

First Reading Job 7:1-4, 6-7
Responsorial Psalm 147:1-6 Response 1a, 3
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22, 23
Gospel Mark 1:29-39

A number of years ago, around 35 years ago I read a novel by Robert A. Heinlien, JOB: A Comedy of Justice. It was a satirical look at the story of Job but instead of losing things as he did in the biblical account he was jumping through alternate realities. The main character is a political activist who was corrupted. It was written to skewer evangelical Christianity, especially the health and wealth gospel of Jimmy Bakker, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, and the likes. At the time I was fascinated with the story and read it a few times in a few short years. It came to mind today in regards to the readings. 

The first reading is from the end of Job's second speech, his response to Eliphaz. It is also the beginning of Job crying out to God. Combining that with a brief sentence in the middle of our second reading "I May make the Gospel free of charge." That is the example Jesus gave. In today's gospel Jesus heals Simon's mother-in-law. And when word got out they brought to Jesus 'all who were sick or possessed with demons, and the whole city gathered around the door. But this began at evening, at sunset. Jesus worked well into the night healing all who were brought to him. This was after teaching at the synagogue earlier in the day. 

It might seem strange tying a science fiction novel by an agnostic with today's readings. But it is the memories and links that this days readings stirred up. And I pray for blessings upon you the readers this week, as you start thinking ahead to lent, and as you live each day of this fifth week of ordinary time 2018.

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