Homily for 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Homily for 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

(Have you ever taken time to observe nature so closely?)

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
When you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

(From morning till you go to bed, you have a lot on your mind)

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die,
’cause you never had time to call and say “hi”?

(Do really have time to listen to the people around you)

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.                                                                             You never see to appreciate what is inside.

(If you can fix whatever is worrying you, please do it and stop worrying)

Life is not a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before the song is over.

You Better Slow Down … Author: Unknown

Dearly Beloved, we see Job in the first reading giving voice to the despair, anger and frustration that many a person go through each day.

Job 7

Job spoke, saying:
Is not man's life on earth a drudgery?
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.

 

Dearly Beloved, these are the realities of life. If you ask me, can one live never to regret anything in his or her past, or can one live and never get sick, or can one never be threatened with economic hardship at one point or another, or can one live not to be hurt or disappointed, can a person live and not feel the sorrow that comes with the loss of a loved one; I can go on and on.  Are these possible?  The reality is NO.  If you ask me, can a person live with one or several of these situations and not feel depressed, overwhelmed, sickened, then without any trace of doubt, I answer YES.  HOW?

Our gospel today from Mark presents us with a compassionate, loving and merciful God whose interest is to set free those who are in any kind of bondage, physical, spiritual or emotional.  As a priest I have witnessed God’s miraculous healing in the lives of many through the sacraments; the Eucharist, through penance and anointing of the sick. I have also witnessed God using medical practitioners, whether Christians or not, to heal people. And obviously above all, through ordinary people with faith like me and many of you gathered together here.  Through the love that you offer to friends and family who are sick, or who are experiencing any form of tribulations, God brings healing to them. Some may receive physical healing, others emotional or spiritual, and many others enough grace not just to cope, but live triumphantly through pain and hardships. Whatever form of healing God grants is always in view of eternity; we can trust him.

In verse 35 we are told, Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” Later on in chapter 5:30 Mark will tell us “30 Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” I can only imagine that after healing and driving away demons, much power had gone out of Jesus. Even Jesus may have felt exhaustion in ministry. But he always knew how to “refuel” before the start of new day. That is through prayer. How much more you?

 

There is this proverb in my dialect, ‘”y3n nyina nkrani mu ntiti nkrani” literally in English as “You do not stand in ants to brush them off” (By the time you manage to get one off, two would have attacked you already.) What this means is that the very moment you feel overwhelmed, confused, sad, overtaken by life situations, just stop whatever you are doing for a few seconds and say a prayer. Friends, it works. Learn to distract yourself with prayer.

 

When the disciples told Jesus, "Everyone is looking for you.  "He told them, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also.

Look at the urgency that Jesus attached to the proclamation of this good news of the love and mercy of God”.

 

There are many who are so confused and despair in the realities that confront them. They have no means of being set free. This good news of God, that brings freedom much reach them.

 

St. Paul in the 2nd reading shares a similar conviction. To him, reaching out to others about this good news is an obligation.

 

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.

 

Dearly Beloved, how does your baptism and confirmation challenge you to witness to this good news? Do you feel compelled?  Any moment you are there to pray, comfort, and offer support of any kind to those in need in the name of Christ, you are sharing with them God’s healing. Share with them that they need to go slower. Life is much more than the pain and frustrations that they face. In the words of St. Paul “I have made myself a slave to all so to win over as many as possible”. There are sacrifices to make in this process. How willing are you to be distracted for the sake and well-being of another. Do you feel compelled?