Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: The Mystery of the Infirmities

It is interesting that the origin of the word infirmities (illness) comes from the Latin in-firmus, one that is not firm or is without foundation. I am sure that we can all associate this etymology with some of the characteristics of sick people: weakness, suffering, lack of defenses, anguish, and sadness. The Book of Job tells us of this very well: nights with pain and nightmares, the inability to control bad things that are going to inevitably happen.

Jesus appears today in the Gospel as The Great Physician. If infirmities bring us to experience our weaknesses, the presence of Jesus brings us to experience the healing love of God.

The dedication of Jesus to sick people is visible in many ways. It helps us to remember with gratitude the many works of mercy that help ease the pain and suffering of the world; in hospitals, orphanages, nursing homes, houses for refugees or immigrants. In all of these we can feel the care of the Son of God and the efficacious love of millions of people.

Today we need to pray, with love, for those who give their lives in those apostolates, especially if they are aware that they are an extension of the skin, hands and eyes of Jesus, they are in the service of the favored ones of Him: the ones with infirmities.

We can also find a connection to the second reading. Paul with specific ardor gives himself the cause of evangelization. He feels that it is his obligation, something that can't be delegated or postponed “Among the weak in faith I become weak like one of them, in order to win them.  So I become all things to all men that I may save some of them by whatever means are posible.” (1 Cor 9,22). Here we learn at least two things. First, it is part of the mission of the apostle; the participation of the pains and sorrow of those that are going to be evangelized. The best proof and example of this is Jesus’ suffering on the cross.  Second, is the necessity of adaptation. Love won't stop after hearing “no”; it won't stop when it is faced with defeat and failure; it is always creating new ways and techniques; it is creative and incapable of giving up.

Lord, thank you for this time we will spend together. I wish to step away from the world and all its activities to be alone with you now.  You are my beginning and my end: you created me, and you are leading me home to you in heaven. Thank you for your love. I know I deserve nothing from you and that my sins compound my unworthiness, yet you would still enfold me in your unfathomable love.

Lord, increase my love for prayer and the interior life.

Lord, help me to put you first in my life by giving you the best of my time. Help me not to give into laziness, but to rise early in the morning so that I can be with you. I need you in my life. Help me to experience your love so that I can share it with others. Help me to give myself to your plan of salvation and to reach out to those who are searching for you. Help me to hunger for you alone so that you will satisfy my hunger. Amen.

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