Saturday, February 07, 2015

Everyone is looking

Job spoke, saying: Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?  What a way to begin Mass today!  I know Job is not renowned for his upbeat commentary, and there is a reason for that.  But still – what better example could be found of the universal applicability of Sacred Scripture?  How could the Church – or Job – have known the particular drudgery we would be undertaking today, as we take up our little pencils and walk through our pledge cards?
Picture how Peter’s mother-in-law felt about the household chores she undertook when Peter and the boys brought Jesus to her house.  She had been ill, stuck in bed with a fever, until Jesus touched and cured her.  Her immediate response was to get up and wait on them.  There was no disappointment in what could have seemed drudgery; it was a gift to be well enough to give hospitality to the one who had made her well.
What was the source of her delight?  The household tasks themselves?  Her restored ability to accomplish them well?  Simply “feeling herself again?”  Was it all that, combined with the opportunity to offer it to Jesus?  She could not have known who Jesus was, but she also could not have failed to know some very important things about Him.  She was healed by His touch!  Can you think that under those circumstances she might have resented or begrudged the chores she had performed a thousand times already?  No, neither can I.
Speaking of something done a thousand times, picture how Jesus spent that evening.  They brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.  The whole town was gathered at the door.  He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons.  While that must have been exciting for the folks he cured, it was surely the same old thing, over and over again, for Jesus.  I mean, really -- all who were ill or possessed by demons?  What a mob!  -- and not a well-behaved or attractive one, either.  And this was not his first rodeo, so to speak.  He had done the same in every town he had visited!  At what point does curing and exorcizing become drudgery?
So he escaped – who can blame him?  Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.  Simon and the others came after him and told him, Everyone is looking for you.  What did Jesus say?  I need a break?  I’ve done enough, let’s do something else?  No – He said He had to go do more of the same, but somewhere new, somewhere different.  He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also.  For this purpose have I come.”  So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.  Jesus knew the value of His list of “things to do,” and didn’t count them as drudgery. 
Everyone is looking for you.  Think about that.  It is still true; everyone is looking for Jesus, even folks who do not realize it – maybe even especially them.  They crave His peace, His mercy, His life, but do not know who can give it to them.  He and He alone has what everyone craves, seeks, and searches for.  Did Peter’s mother-in-law resent or resist her task in making it possible for so many from the whole town to find him?
Everyone is looking for him.  To fulfill the tasks, to expend the effort, to do the chores that make Him available to them – is that a drudgery?  For this purpose have (we) have come.  Sorry, Job!

Monsignor Smith

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