Today’s First Reading portrays the brokenhearted Job. He has lost everything: wealth, family and health. He has every right to complain. The rest of the story is that his friends try to convince him that he has somehow offended God and is being punished. Job, however, maintains his innocence and trust in God. He realizes that he came into this world with nothing and will leave it with nothing. He has enjoyed a blessed life and now it is his turn to suffer life’s misery. Confident that his destiny lies in God’s hands, he entrusts himself to God. In the end he will receive from God even more than he had before. The Responsorial Psalm praises God as the one who delivers us from the evil that life too often affords us, because he is good and gracious.
Today’s Gospel presents Jesus as our good and gracious God healing the sick and casting out demons. He continues to speak with authority, confronting and overpowering the forces of evil. That cosmic confrontation will ultimately be won by his death and resurrection; but for now he must preach: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Cf. Mark 1:15—the Gospel we heard two Sundays ago.)
In today’s Second Reading Saint Paul speaks of his obligation to preach the gospel. It is also an obligation for all Christians. In baptism and confirmation we are anointed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to share in the prophetic ministry of Jesus Christ. We may not carry out this ministry as formally as a priest or deacon, or as forcefully as Saint Paul; but we all have an obligation to witness to our faith, whether by word or in deed. A life lived well is the most eloquent sermon of a Christian.
St. Charles parishioners, remember that the Festival of Hearts is next Sunday, February 11. Please return your response to the invitation this weekend, if you have not already done so. This is for planning purposes only. There is no cost to attend. It is for people of all ages. Parishioners 80 and older, and new parishioners, will be our special guests. This is our party before Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14.
February 11, for 26 years now, has been the World Day of the Sick. It is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, recalling the place where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 and where many miraculous healings have occurred. It has become a day to celebrate the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Because it falls on Sunday this year, the feast is not observed. However we will celebrate Mass and offer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at St. Charles Church on Saturday, February 24, at 11:00 AM. Following the Mass a luncheon will be served in the Narthex. People whose health is impaired by age or illness are welcome and encouraged to attend and receive this sacrament of healing. If you know parishioners of either parish who are your relatives or neighbors who are homebound, invite them to come and offer them a ride. To read Pope Francis’ message for this year’s World Day of the Sick, go to <w2.vatican.va>; change the language to English; click on “Messages”; go down the left-hand column and click on “World Day of the Sick”; then click on “English.” The message will appear.
Pray the Rosary this week for people who are discouraged, alienated from God or in need of healing. Pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and for our diocesan seminarians. As always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.