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 Corinthians 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 Mark 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.
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Job asks us today: “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?” Yes we know that in the end, Job received so many gifts from God because his faith did not fail. We can contrast the feelings of Job in the first reading today with those of Jesus in the Gospel: “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” In the First Letter to the Corinthians. Saint Paul tells us of his challenges: “All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.”
Today in the three readings we are given the inner sense of three different people and their relationship to what the Father has asked of them. We can put them in this order: Job speaks before knowing of the salvation given to us in Christ Jesus. Jesus speaks to us of His inner calling to proclaim the Good News. Saint Paul then tells us how to proclaim that Good News so that all can come to know Jesus.
Most of us probably already know the story of Job. He was a man who believed completely in the Lord and had receive enormous blessings. The devil tries to undo this faith of Job. Eventually all the blessings are removed and sufferings are heaped on Job. While Job questions what is happening, he never doubts nor loses faith.
Are we that strong in faith? Can we trust God even when we question? Do we accept both blessings and sufferings from our Lord?
The second reading, from the First Letter to the Corinthians, is Saint Paul’s account of how he tries to live the Good News. Saint Paul is clear: I must preach the Good News! Here we see Saint Paul not just enduring all of the trials and tribulations, but recognizing that preaching the Good News is required of him because he believes in Jesus.
Does our faith impel us to share our faith with others? Are we able to tell others about our faith in Jesus? Are we willing to suffering because we believe that Jesus is the Lord?
The Gospel today is from Saint Mark. We are still at the beginning of this Gospel. Jesus is just beginning His public ministry. What is truly strong in the Gospel today is that everyone is looking for Jesus and that there is no place for Him to be away from the people. Jesus responds to that by saying: “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”
The whole purpose of the life of Jesus is to preach the Kingdom, to proclaim the Good News: God loves us and invites us to share His life.
Can you believe that?
Your brother in the Lord,