Homily Fifth Sunday Year B Response to encounter

By 11:01 AM

Homily Fifth Sunday Year B

Reading 1: We can possibly relate to Job’s negative attitude about life in general and his life in particular. At times, life does feel like a drudgery: months of misery, restlessness, hopeless and helpless feelings, without much happiness. 

Job has lost everything: material possessions and personal relationships. He is afflicted with multiple sores and scabs on his body that causes great pain. Basically, he wants to die.  But the real reason for Job’s disposition is he feels totally innocent and he blames God for his situation. He wants God to justify why he has caused Job to suffer all these calamities. In spite of his distressful life there is pride and arrogance in Job. He is right and God is wrong. God owes him a justification. Have you ever felt this way?
Eventually, in his confrontation with God, Job experiences the truth. He is not God. He will never fathom the mind of God. All he could do is to surrender himself to God’s plan for him, in order to experience true happiness again.

Life is not a drudgery but a mystery. We are not the beginning, nor end, nor the center of life. God is. Difficulties are part of human life because of the sin of Adam and Eve. But Jesus became like us in all things except sin to show us the truth of life in God.

Gospel: Life involves encounters. Some encounters are transformative, others destructive. But it was an encounter with Jesus that has made a difference for Simon, Andrew, James and John.  They left their former way of life as fishermen to become disciples of Jesus.

As disciples they had many experiences that become part of their formation. They witnessed the power of Jesus to heal many from various illnesses and to deliver others from the power of Satan over them. Jesus knows that in these various encounters lives can be changed or remain the same. His mission from the Father was to preach the Good News of the Father’s love and eventually to offer his life for the salvation of all.
Many people came into contact with Jesus. Many experienced his ministry. Not all changed for the better. Not all became disciples and continued their transformation.  Though they experienced the same ministry and heard the same saving message, they refused to believe, accept and act on their decision by becoming disciples.

Have we had a personal encounter with Jesus that has made a difference in our life? What has happened to us as a result? Have we become disciples and followers so that we can grow in our relationship? Have we become convicted by the message of the Gospel—the cross of Jesus—by which we have been saved to the extent, like Paul, we must share it with others in the power of the Holy Spirit?

Having received the healing touch of Jesus, Peter’s mother-in-law began serving him and the disciples. Others went about proclaiming the mighty deeds of Jesus. Others defended him at the risk of their lives. What has been our response?

Reading 2: Paul’s life after his conversion to the person of Jesus Christ was anything but pleasant and comfortable. He was beaten, imprisoned, stoned, shipwrecked, felt abandonment, even to the point of despair. He could say with St. Theresa of Avila: “If this is how you treat your friends, Lord, no wonder you have so few.”

But for Paul, what or who made the difference in his life was the person of Jesus. Once Paul came into the light of salvation, he felt compelled to preach Jesus and him crucified and risen.  He was so convicted that he wrote: “Woe to me if I do not preach it!”

Because of Jesus and the freedom of faith in Jesus, Paul willingly gave his total self to reaching out to all, so that at least some would be saved. Once his personal encounter with Jesus changed his life, Paul could not and would not go about in the same way as the past. He was convinced that “I live now, not I, but Christ Jesus in me…. In him I move and live and have my being…I want nothing but to be conformed to his passion, so I can share in his resurrection.”

How committed am I to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others in gratitude for the fact that someone shared it with me? We are not called to be another Paul. Rather, we are called to be the disciple Jesus has gifted us to be.

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