If the Gospel is really in our hearts, we need to share it with others
Reflections on the readings for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 7, 2021): JB 7:1-4,6-7; PS 147:1-2,3-4,5-6; 1 COR 9:16-19,22-23; MK 1:29-39
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
These days, we might look to the Pope, Bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, and, naturally, missionaries, to share the Good News around the world.
The readings for today remind us of the overwhelming importance of the redemption that Christ brought into the world. In both the Old Testament and Gospel readings, we see how much suffering surrounds us. But we also see that God’s design for us is for something far more. We hear Job express the misery of people who have experienced great trials and feel no hope. Then in the Psalm we hear about the power of the Almighty and His desire to heal the heartbroken and tend to the wounded. Only in the coming of Christ do we find the answer to human anguish. In the definitive all-giving sacrifice of His own life, He ransoms us from pain of body, mind and spirit by overcoming evil in all its forms.
In St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he talks about the mission that our Lord entrusted to him. It became His duty to spread the word of God, the word of Christ, to all who heard him. He lived the Gospel in order to put those people into the hands of our Savior. Their acceptance of Jesus and conversion into His followers was all that mattered to Paul. “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” (1 Corinthians 9:19, 22-23). It might be easy to think that this was, after all, the job entrusted to Paul by Jesus, and, of course, to Peter and the other Apostles. These days, we might look to the Pope, Bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, and, naturally, missionaries, to share the Good News around the world. That’s the truth, but it is not the whole truth. Each person who considers himself or herself a follower of Christ has a responsibility to preach Him – our Redeemer, our brother, our King – each day. Sometimes we need to stand up and speak out for our faith. Other times, we can offer it more quietly through compassionate, generous actions.
Suggested missionary action: Let us ask Christ to help us keep living in faith each day and sharing it with everyone we can, even when we grow tired or discouraged. Let us also pray for missionaries who continue to spread the news of our Savior even in difficult circumstances. Let us support the work of missionaries as we can.