Job began to speak:
Is not man’s life on earth nothing more than pressed service, his time no better than hired drudgery?
Like the slave, sighing for the shade, or the workman with no thought but his wages, months of delusion I have assigned to me, nothing for my own but nights of grief.
Lying in bed I wonder, ‘When will it be day?’ Risen I think, ‘How slowly evening comes!’ Restlessly I fret till twilight falls.
Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed, and vanished, leaving no hope behind.
Remember that my life is but a breath, and that my eyes will never again see joy.
1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23
I do not boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it! If I had chosen this work myself, I might have been paid for it, but as I have not, it is a responsibility which has been put into my hands. Do you know what my reward is? It is this: in my preaching, to be able to offer the Good News free, and not insist on the rights which the gospel gives me.
So though I am not a slave of any man I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could. For the weak I made myself weak. I made myself all things to all men in order to save some at any cost; and I still do this, for the sake of the gospel, to have a share in its blessings.
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.
In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.
“To the weak, I made myself weak, to win the weak.”
Today’s readings allow us to once again pay attention to ourselves, our motives and intentions, to once again reflect on why we are doing what we do, our purpose in life, the reason we live. To remember where we came from but, more importantly, to whom we belong to.
We see in the first reading where Job questions most of our struggles. “Why am I stuck in this job?”, “How long more must I endure this suffering?”, “How much finances is considered enough?”. Unfortunately, many of us didn’t choose our jobs because we would enjoy working there for our fulfilment but because of the salary and future prospects. After awhile we get stuck in the rat race and routines in life and we ask ourselves, “Why am I doing this in the first place?”
The Gospel today gives us Christ as the example, for when Jesus was curing the sick and driving out devils in Capernaum, many were flocking to Him. Human as He is, I’m sure He too could have been easily distracted by all the fame and power that He had. To a certain extent, He would have been very comfortable where He was. However, we can see that even Jesus had to make time for prayer, for clarity, to be reminded of His mission, His will and the will of the Father. After which, we see Jesus quietly leaving Capernaum and travelling through Galilee.
St Paul beautifully writes in the second reading, “To the weak, I made myself weak, to win the weak”. It really isn’t about ourselves, it isn’t about our pride — what we have accomplished — but as Catholics, whether we have been a disciple. Christ, once again, is our model where fully God, He came down to earth; fully human as well, in order to reach out to us, in order to save us, in order to defeat sin, in order that we may have salvation, to be able to be reunited with Him in eternity.
Christ has already paid our price by His death. Let us now celebrate this life that we are given, for there is nothing we can do to earn our place nor our salvation. Let us not allow death, but Christ to determine how we live. Let us live as Christ lives, let us love as He loves.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray for courage and faith as we journey through the unknown. Help us to recollect our intentions, purpose and calling in life. Help us to not just focus on the healing but the healer, not on your plan but on you. Help us to know you more and by knowing you, find our meaning of life, that we will glorify you by our lives. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for your sacrifice, for coming to be with us; for your unconditional love and for this covenantal relationship. Amen.