Fifth Week of Ordinary Time: February 8 - 14, 2015

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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2015-02-08
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en_US
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"They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over -- seven baskets. There were about four thousand people." - Mark 8
Fifth Week of Ordinary Time|The Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time has readings that deal with suffering and weakness. In Mark's Gospel, we see Jesus go to Simon Peter's house to heal Peter's mother-in-law. Crowds of people gather for healing outside the house. In the morning, Jesus slips away to pray, only to be searched out by Peter. Jesus says, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come."|Tuesday is the Memorial of Saint Scholastica, virgin. Saturday is the Memorial of Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop.|For the next week and a half - until Ash Wednesday - our first reading on the weekdays will be from the Book of Genesis. This week begins with the stirring story of creation, one that will be repeated at the Easter Vigil.|Mark's Gospel continues with stories of Jesus' healing and of his challenging and being challenged by the religious authorities. "People immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats." The Pharisees and scribes question Jesus asking, "Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?" A frustrated Jesus responds, "You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition." Jesus challenges the people to disregard rules about being defiled by food but to avoid the evil desires and deeds that defile their hearts. Traveling north into pagan territory, Jesus visits a woman whose daughter has an unclean spirit. Jesus heals her because the mother believes in him. On his way back, Jesus heals a man, allowing him to hear and speak again. Jesus feeds 4,000 people for whom he is moved with pity.|The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time offers a dramatic look at leprosy. The first reading from Leviticus has clear instructions: A leper has to live away from the community, cover his head and call out, "Unclean, unclean!" as people go near him. It emphasizes even more what it means that Jesus speaks with and touches someone who was such a pariah as he heals the leper in Mark's Gospel.
Daily Prayer This Week: Prayer of the Church: Collect for this Week|Every week we are trying to find intimacy with our Lord in the midst of our everyday life. We use the stories about Jesus in the readings of the week to help us. Because our days are so busy, those stories make connections among what we are experiencing, God's Word to us and the desires that are coming to the surface in us.|This week we can let various parts of this week's rich scripture readings touch us, depending on what is going on in us. It all begins with our beginning the day, establishing a connection. With the briefest of rising prayers, we can talk with our Lord about what we anticipate needing that day.|One day I might know that, with what I have to face that day, I need to ask that the healing Jesus be with me. I might be able to name what needs healing. "Lord, you know the fear that is developing in me as I face this meeting today." "Lord, take this anger away from my heart." "Most loving Lord, have mercy on me and heal this pattern that plagues me and takes away my happiness, my freedom, my ability to love."|On another day, I may know that I'm right in the middle of the struggle over my disregarding what God really wants me to do, using legalistic excuses to avoid God's will. I might beg, "Lord, I've become such a hypocrite. Purify my heart so I can see as you see, judge as you judge and love as you love. Help me be truly religious, truly compassionate, truly your disciple today."|On other days, I might be in a "foreign" territory, or at least one that seems quite a distance from believing territory. I might ask, "Dear Lord, keep me safe here. Give me courage here. Help me find intimacy with you here. And let me see the faith of so many of your people here."|Some day this week, let's imagine how Jesus has pity on our hunger and feeds us. And every night this week, let's express our gratitude for receiving what we asked for in faith, from the One who is waiting to give us what we need.
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University Ministry, Creighton University.
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