5th Sunday In Ordinary Time
Fr. Mark Gatto
Posted: February 7, 2021
Why were so many people attracted to Jesus? Why were they coming to Jesus? So many were being brought to Jesus, it says that “the whole city was gathered around the door.” Jesus actually goes off to a deserted place to pray and the disciples search him out and tell him that “Everyone is searching for you.” What were they searching out and wanting to find?
They were looking for healing of some sort or another. They were people who were hungering and thirsting for some peace from the struggles and hurts of life. Those coming were looking for healing from various “diseases” or liberation as those “possessed with demons.”
Life can be hard and at times it can seem empty. In this pandemic and the lockdown how many among us are feeling isolated and anxious? There are financial concerns for some, health concerns for others, fear of the future for many.
These are not unique concerns or anxieties or fears only in this particular time. Those searching for Jesus were experiencing many of these same issues. As we listen to Job in our first reading we hear of how tough life can be for human beings at times. “Does not the human being have a hard service on earth…”, “Like the slave who longs for the shadow,…”, “I am allotted months of emptiness, and nights of misery…”, “Remember that my life is but a breath…”
Job is expressing the broken hearted reality that human beings can experience in this life. Those grieving, those who are sick, those struggling with mental illnesses, those facing failure and loss. Sometimes it is just the simple unexplained sense of emptiness that can take over our hearts.
People went to Jesus in search of healing for their broken hearts. We also can turn to Jesus, to be embraced by the living God, to open our hearts to the healing and peace our God desires for us. People went to Jesus expecting and hoping to find some healing.
Today, when people come to the church, when people come to any one of us who are members of the church, what should they expect and hope to find? Should the church not be a place of healing, peace and hope. This is the challenge of the Catholic Church, the challenge of our parish, and the challenge for each one of us baptized members of the church. That others will find in us a place of healing, of liberation, of peace. In the midst of the emptiness and struggles of life, we need to be a people who allow God’s healing and freedom to be experienced.
We do this simply by receiving others with a sense of mercy, by caring for others who are hurting, by reaching out to speak a gentle word and to listen with an open heart. Others should experience in our reception, a reason to hope and that a God of love is possible.
The sick, the possessed, the lost, were searching to find Jesus. Looking to find healing, liberation, hope. This is the mission of the church, it is my hope for our parish, and it is the challenge for each one of us, to receive others in a way that they may experience the healing and liberation of God that so many found in Jesus.