Homily For The 5th Sunday Of Ordinary Time, Year B

Christ Liberates And Calls Us To Serve Others Freely

Rdgs: (1st: Job 1-7; Ps 9, 16-23; 2nd: 1Cor 9, 16-19. 22-23: Gos: Mk 1, 29-39)

This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico &  Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.


On this fifth Sunday of ordinary time, the holy mother church invites us to praise Christ, who continues doing good. He, and his apostles carried out their mission as a responsibility and not just for wages. Therefore, he liberates and calls us to serve others freely.

The first reading presents us with the dilemma of Job an innocent and faithful servant of God. Rather than leave the image of suffering and misery, the story of Job should raise our hope and trust in the saving power of God.

Job’s faith was severely tested by the devil. He lost everything. As a man, Job complained as most of us do: “Lying in bed I wonder, when it will be day? Rising I think, how slowly evening comes…Remember that my life is but a breath, and that my eyes will never see joy.” However, and to the glory of God, Job did not lose his faith in God.

Job’s case reminds us of our own daily struggles with the problems of life. Above all, it reminds us, of what at times, seems to us as the “grave silence or absence of God” in our lives. They are terrible moments that make us ask questions like: God, where are you? Why me? What have I done wrong? God answers these question at his own time.

In the second reading, Paul strongly expressed his willingness to preach the gospel. He exclaims: “Curse upon me, if I do not preach the gospel!” His story is like that of a man who survived a disease, and dedicated his life to help other patients. Again, he is like a doctor who discovered a vaccine for a certain illness and vowed to offer it free of charge to all.

Paul was spiritually sick until he providentially encountered Christ. This encounter transformed his life and strengthened his faith. So, he dedicated himself to the preaching of the good news. This is his testimony: “…I made myself all things to all men, in order to save some at any cost…for the sake of the gospel…to have a share in its blessing.” So, rather than for wages, Paul saw his call as a responsibility for the salvation of others. He was a full time itinerary preacher who was always hungry for the conversion of souls for Christ.

In today’s gospel, Jesus tirelessly went about teaching, healing, delivering and empowering people. This includes, the mother-in-law of Peter. Also, Jesus saw his ministry as a responsibility not principally as a wage earner for him. So, above everything he was passionate about it, and about the welfare of his people.

Like Jesus and Paul, we ought to see our call and mission as a responsibility, rather than a wage earner, or for worldly reward as its end. Wages or rewards does not refer to only money or material things. Deliberately seeking praises for our work and mission, is a way of demanding wages too. If we do so, we already have got our wages. So, when we attract undue attention to ourselves for the work we do, it is also a way of gaining a wage for what simply ought to be our responsibility.

Jesus preached, healed and delivered people from all kinds of infirmities and problems. There was no one who encountered him with faith that he did not heal. If Jesus must heal us, we too must have faith in him. Also, If the good news must liberate us, we must believe it.

The power of Jesus is still the same today. He is ready to heal those who come to him in faith. He is ready to have a life changing encounter with those who are ready to approach him with humility. Therefore, let us “praise the Lord who heals our broken hearts.”

Peace be with you!


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