Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection February 04, 2024


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R/. Praise the Lord who heals the brokenhearted.

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. Christ took our illnesses and bore our diseases.

R/. Alleluia

At that time: Jesus left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening at sunset they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is what I came for.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

1.      Today, one main focus of the Word of God is our mission on this earth and as the disciples of Christ. We are given some essential ingredients of this mission.

2.      They are Sensitivity and solidarity, a sense of urgency, obligation and dedication, and a spirit of unattachment to the world and the earth. These are seen in three figures, namely Job, Paul and Jesus himself, respectively in the three readings.

3.      The whole ministry of Jesus shows this divine sensitivity and solidarity toward the suffering humanity. He preaches the good news and offers comfort and hope to the downcast. He heals the sick. He liberates those in bondage by driving out demons. He cures Peter’s mother-in-law of her fever and cures many of their infirmities.

4.      Our reflection on the mission and its components is not merely to know about it, but to do it, because now it is our mission. The baton is passed on to us. It is the very same mission of preaching the good news and healing.

5.      Our mission can be effective and fruit-bearing if only it is driven by the same components that mark the mission of Jesus and Paul. In a world that is getting drowned in whirlwinds of bad news from all directions, we are called to be missionaries of the good news of comfort, assurance, positive energy, enthusiasm, and hopefulness.

6.      The world needs to hear something positive, something healthy, something uplifting, something noble. We have bundles of trash that are bombarded around us. We need some refreshing and relieving bash of good tidings.

7.      The world needs healing from various evil forces. Much more than the physical sicknesses which never cease, what is alarming is the infection of mind, heart and spirit. There are so many mental-intellectual viruses, emotional-psychological viruses, social-moral viruses, and spiritual-religious viruses.

8.      Prejudices and biases, resentments and negativities, closedness and stubbornness, arrogance and haughtiness, deception and selfishness are highly infecting and sickening the world of today. The ugly effects of these viruses and infections are hatred, indifference, violence, corruption and destruction.

9.      Therefore, the Lord is sending us on his behalf in his name, with his own mission. He is trusting us and is counting on us. What must be our response and duty? First of all, we ourselves must receive the gospel and the healing.

10.  Because we too are so much engulfed in the grip of negative vibrations. We need the fresh waves of good news to drench us. We too must open ourselves to the Lord’s healing touch.

11.  But what next? When touched and cured by the Lord, we need to share it with others and serve them. This is what Peter’s mother-in-law did and those who got healed by Jesus. The world of today needs so much the gospel of comfort and hope. It stands in need of liberation from many oppressing forces. It needs healing from many contagions.

12.  But to fulfil this noble mission and task, what are our requirements and equipments? They are Sensitivity and solidarity, a sense of urgency, obligation and dedication, and a spirit of unattachment to the world and the earth.

13.  We need to be both spiritually and fraternally sensitive. We need to be eager and prompt to throw ourselves in solidarity with those who suffer and struggle in different ways. We must know its urgency, because it is already high time and there is no time left.

14.  We cannot afford to neglect it or postpone it. We must feel obligated and mandated; it is not an option but an obligation. We must totally commit ourselves to this great mission.

15.  For this, as Job exhorts us, we must be conscious of the impermanence of life and the futility and vanity of placing our trust in the world and worthlessly running in worthless pursuits. This must lead us to a spirit of distancing ourselves from undue clinging to the world.

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