5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 7th February
Mary Mackillop was always looking for opportunities in which she could apply the teaching of the Gospel to the life of the community in which she lived. She saw an urgency which did not put the work of today in the hope of what might happen in the future. She was not one for rainy days in which action could be postponed when it was clear that she could make a difference at this moment.
As we read through the first reading from Job for this weekend, we can have an impression that it is just one thing after another. Yet I feel this misses the point he is making which is to be present to the situation we are in rather than seeing life as an endless progression of time in which we always anticipate something in the future but never experience it now. Paul takes this theme up when he talks about preaching the gospel not as a task to be fulfilled but a life to be lived. He saw himself as sharing his life with the people he met so that he could identify the graced action which was needed. In the same way, Jesus sees the immediate need and responds to it. When he discovers Simon Peter’s mother-in-law sick, he attends to her need for healing. She responds by showing her thanks by attending to his needs. It is this ability to see the need in the life of another which draws us to be people of healing and reconciliation.
The main thing in exercising these good works is not to draw attention to ourselves but to enable us to hear the Good News at work in our lives and the lives of ordinary people. It is by doing ordinary things extraordinarily well that we discover how God opens up our minds and hearts to the people in our square metre. To encounter them prayerfully and holistically. To see the person who is in need and to take the next obvious step.
Fr. John Armstrong