Homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: JESUS, THE HEALER OF THE BROKEN-HEARTED
By: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka
Homily for Sunday February 7 2021
R1 – Job 7:1-4, 6-7
RESP PS – Ps 147:1-6
R2 – 1Cor 9:16-19, 22-23
GOSPEL – Mk 1:29-39
A story was narrated about a very young man who went to an old sage, seeking counsel. “My life is broken and shattered into pieces” he expressed. “How badly is it broken?” the old sage queried. “Into a million little pieces” replied the young man. “I’m afraid I can’t help you” the old sage replied. “Why not?” the young man fittingly asked. “There is nothing I can do” the sage responded. “Why can’t it be fixed?” The young man frustratingly asked. “Because it’s broken beyond repair. It’s in a million little pieces” sounded the demoralising response that left the young man really broken and shattered.
Beloved in Christ, the entire readings of today’s liturgy, describe Jesus’ compassionate enterprise in relieving human sufferings, frustrations, brokenness and experiences of forsakeness, even when the damage reaches a million pieces, beyond “mmekwatarism” (repair) and when all human expertise and professionalism have failed: whereby, detailing Job’s predicament in sharp contrast to Jesus’ Sabbath healing of Peter’s mother in-law.
The above interplay in the introit story, sounds like Job’s agitations to his feelings of brokenness, sharteredness and forsakenness beyond recovery in the first reading; when his life was broken into a million little pieces. Job, complains of the tedium and futility of life and the miseries of human existence in his unimaginable experience of brokenness.
However, it is pertinent to observe that the book of Job is just a didactic poem intended to refute the ancient Jewish belief that sickness and suffering are punishments from God. However, it is more suitable for our generation that yearns for a brand of Christianity without the cross: whereby, sufferngs, problems and challenges are seen as evil and punishment from God.
Nevertheless, in the book of Job, we see God’s permitting Satan to test the commitment of His servant Job. A prosperous and God-fearing man, Job suddenly experienced the successive, catastrophic losses of wealth, family, and health. The only explanation the author offers for God’s permitting the innocent Job to suffer these losses is that He had allowed Satan to test Job’s trusting commitment and fidelity to God, even under extreme pressure, and Job had passed the tests.
*JESUS’ INTERVENTION IN HEALING THE BROKEN-HEARTED*
In the Gospel reading, Jesus gives us the assurance and proof that nothing in our lives is beyond repair for Him, the healer of the broken-hearted, as manifested in the Sabbath healing of Peter’s mother in-law and a host of others, constituting the broken hearted, who received their healing in the Gospel text.
Jesus’ work of healing as described in the Gospel, contrasts with the elaborate account of Job’s miseries of human existence and conditions which are besieged with sadness, suffering, monotony, isolation and hopelessness; to the point that peace fades, even in sleep! Instead, there is only a restless expectation of a return to toil at dawn.
But in Jesus, impossibility becomes possible, hopelessness turns to hopefulness, helplessness situations become solvable, sorrows are transformed into joy, the veils of tears and shame are replaced with rejoicing and honour; the broken hearted are healed at Jesus’ intervention.
*IMPLICATIONS OF JESUS’ SABBATH MIRACLES*
Traditionally, the Jewish “halakha” (law), prohibits doing any form of “melakhah” (work), on Shabbat; with some stringent restrictions and regulations over even saving lives and healing.
So, on a Sabbath day, the hope of receiving miracles and healing in the Jewish world is very slim, but Jesus stepped above mere observance of the law inorder to show love to the broken-hearted, – indicating that Jesus can turn our situations round at our least expected moments, as we see in following Sabbath miracles:
(i) Jesus sends a demon out of a man (Mk 1:21-28)
(ii) Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law (Mk 1:29-31)
(iii) Jesus heals a lame man by the pool of Bethsaida (Jn 5:1-18)
(iv) Jesus heals a man with a shrivelled hand (Mk 3:1-6)
(v) Jesus restores a crippled woman (Lk 13:10-17)
(vi) Jesus heals a man with dropsy (Lk 14:1-6)
(vii) Jesus heals a man born blind (Jn 9:1-16).
Moreover, these Sabbath miracles are indications that Jesus can break laws and protocols of age, seniority, nature, laws, due process, inorder to heal and favour those who love him, since the scripture says, “For those who love Him, everything must work out for their own good (Rom 8:28).
_THOSE WHO LOVE GOD OBSERVE THE FOLLOWING PROTOCOLS:_
(1) _THEY RECHARGE THEIR SPIRITUAL BATTERIES OFTEN_
(2) _DEVELOPING OPTIMISTIC HOPE AND TRUST IN JESUS_
(3) _EMBRACING THE VOCATION OF HEALING THE BROKEN-HEARTED_
*(1) THEY RECHARGE THEIR SPIRITUAL BATTERIES OFTEN*
Jesus knew that he could not live without prayer, because his teaching and healing ministry drained him of power. He would repeatedly have to summon spiritual reinforcements.
This is exactly what Jesus manifests in the Gospel reading after the Sabbath miracles. He went early in the morning to recharge His spiritual batteries, at a place of quietude and solitude with His Father. We too, should learn to recharge our spiritual batteries at family morning and night prayers.
*(2) DEVELOPING OPTIMISTIC HOPE AND TRUST IN JESUS*
We learn from the story of Job in the first reading, to avoid being pessimistic over life; losing hope and confidence in God’s competence, as Job expressed.
Job, earlier adopted some pessimistic and desperate view of life as a chain of pain and sufferings. He later expressed some optimistic hope and trust, by these reassuring words: “I know my redeemer liveth (Job 19:25) and “God, I know you can do all things” (Job 42:2). Such radical optimism wrought a Divine and double barrel turn around in his situation (Job 42:10).
Here, we realize, God listens to every human cry, even to the anger and dismay of the lament. We also learn that there is no struggle so great, no suffering so intense that it cannot be surrendered with confidence into God’s capable, powerful hands.
*(3) EMBRACING THE VOCATION OF HEALING THE BROKEN-HEARTED*
Jesus, as He was parting for His heavenly abode, commissioned men to take over in perpetuating His ministry of healing the broken-hearted as a vocation. This is what St Paul, embraced, not as a profession, but as a vocation in the second reading, to the point of becoming a slave for others. We too, are expected to queue into the vocation of healing the broken-hearted, by resolving family rifts, relationship crisis and healing the world around us in entirety.
Finally, there was a story told about a couple who had been married for more than thirty years. One evening, when the husband returned from work, he found his wife packing. “What in the world are you doing?” he asked. “I can’t handle it anymore,” she replied. “I’m tired of all the bickering and arguing and complaining that’s been going on between us all these years, I’m leaving.” Whereupon, the startled husband suddenly dashed to the bedroom, pulled a suitcase out of the closet, filled it with his belongings and ran after his wife, saying, “I can’t handle it anymore either. I’m going with you!”
Beloved, why run away from patching and healing the world around us? However, take it to Jesus, the healer of the broken hearted, instead of quiting.
MAY JESUS THE HEALER OF THE BROKEN HEART, HEAL AND PURIFY US FROM ALL INFIRMITY AND ENERGIZE US TO GO ABOUT, LIKE HIM, HEALING AND BINDING THE BROKEN-HEARTED
*GOD BLESS YOU!*
_FR GERALD MUOKA_