Homily Fifth Sunday Year B To believe and follow

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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.  Life feels like a drudgery, with long periods of misery, of restlessness, of feeling hopeless and helpless. Basically, a life without much happiness. Job has lost everything, both material possessions and personal relationships. He is afflicted with multiple sores and scabs on his body which causes him much pain. Basically, Job wants to die. Have we every felt like this at times? Today, people would try to medicate themselves with drugs, alcohol and pleasure.


But the real issue with Job’s disposition is he feels totally innocent. He blames God for his situation. He wants God to justify why he has caused Job to so suffer all these calamities. In spite of his distressful life, there is a pride and an arrogance in Job. He is right and God is wrong. God owes him a justification.


God responds but doesn’t answer him directly. 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 was 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 and end of life, nor the center of life. God is. Difficulties are part of the human journey because of the sin of Adam and Eve.  In the midst of our present situation in the world, with the pandemic, with the bleak economy news locally, with the turmoil in the world, we have a choice. We can despair like Job or hope in the Lord. The choice is to be overwhelmed by the darkness or expect the light of a new dawn.


Gospel: An encounter with Jesus brings about a choice: to believe and follow him temporarily or permanently or to walk away and remain the same. Simon, Andrew, James and John were encountered by Jesus. As a result, they left their former way of life to follow Jesus, not always perfectly, but willing to be discipled and formed.


Simon’s mother-in-law was encountered by Jesus, who healed her. She, in turn, served his needs. Many of the sick were touched by Jesus. What was their response? Some may have become disciples. Others went their way to be different or to be the same. We don’t know. Jesus encountered the evil spirits. They acknowledged who he was, but remained in their state of eternal alienation.


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 with him? Have we been convicted by the message of the Gospel, namely, the cross of Jesus, by which we have been saved?


The foundation of Jesus life and ministry was grounded in his relationship with the Father. He knows, in his humanity, the importance of spending time in prayer with the Father in the midst of ministry. It was in these moments that Jesus came to discover the Father’s will for him in any present moment of life. He was not about his ministry but the Father’s ministry. Is this what moves us in our lives?


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 abandoned, even to the point of despair.  But for Paul what or who made the difference was the person of Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation. Once Paul came into the light of salvation, he felt compelled to preach Jesus and him crucified and risen. He went so far as to say: “Woe is me, if I do not proclaim the Good News, whether convenient or inconvenient.” 


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 be the same. “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.” Has our encounter with Jesus affected our lives in a meaningful way?

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