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Sunday, February 8, 2015

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5th Sunday Ordinary Time

Job 7:1-4, 6-7
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Psalm 147:1-6
Mark 1:29-39

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the only hope

"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle; they come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again." —Job 7:6-7

Job was both rich and secure in that he had diversified investments. However, in three unrelated catastrophes, Job's financial empire crashed in one day (Jb 1:14ff). Job's bankruptcy was not the worst thing that happened to him that day. In another unrelated incident, Job's ten children were killed when the house in which they were gathered collapsed (Jb 1:2, 18-19). Later, Job contracted an extremely painful illness "with severe boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head" (Jb 2:7). Job had reason to say: "Is not man's life on earth a drudgery?" (Jb 7:1) He considered life to be hopeless, joyless "months of misery" (Jb 7:3ff).

Job's life was not that unusual. Although few people have had so much hit them so fast, multiple tragedies are the rule of life and not the exception. Look at the billions of sick, dying, aborted, persecuted, oppressed, divorced, bereaved, exiled, starving, lonely, and rejected people.

Job's assessment of life is true, but it is not the whole truth. In Jesus, and only in Jesus, there is hope. Jesus loves us infinitely, forgives us our sins, saves us, heals the sick, frees us from demons, raises the dead, works together everything for the good (Rm 8:28), and takes us to be with Him forever in heaven. Jesus is our only Hope, and the only Hope we need. Whether or not people know Jesus, "everybody is looking" for Him (Mk 1:37) because everyone has to have hope and Jesus is our only Hope. Therefore, "should anyone ask you the reason for this hope of yours, be ever ready to reply" (1 Pt 3:15).

Prayer:  Father, show me how to invite people to the "new birth; a birth unto hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pt 1:3).

Promise:  "I do all that I do for the sake of the gospel." —1 Cor 9:23

Praise:  Praise You, risen Jesus, only Hope of the world!

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014

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