Homily for the fifth Sunday in ordinary time, B
We all know that Jesus chose twelve men to be his apostles, but three of them seemed to be very close to him and special; Peter, James and John. Whenever Jesus was going to special places, he went with these three. They were with him when he raised Jarrus’ daughter (Mk. 5:37), they were with him at the transfiguration (Mt. 17:1), and even when he was so sorrowful at the Garden of Gethsemane, he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray. He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (Mt. 26:36-37). They were somehow special.
In our gospel passage this morning, we see Jesus with James and John; surprisingly Peter was not with them. It is even more surprising to know that they were just coming out of the synagogue, which means that Peter did not go to “Church” that day. Something very serious must have kept him, and that thing was his mother-in-law’s sickness. From the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to Peter’s house and he healed the woman.
Imagine how close Peter was to Jesus, yet, his relation could fall sick. Elisha, the great prophet of God fell sick and died (2Kgs 13:14), so why do some people feel that God has abandoned them when misfortune comes there way? No body prays for misfortune, no body prays for evil, but their presence do not signify the absence of God. In all situation God is great, He is great even in the worse situation; he was great in Job’s life despite the things Job went through, and God is great in our lives. He knows you by your name, and he knows about that stormy situation you are struggling with, for he was with the apostles in the boat when it was stormy.
In this world, we are on the “high sea” like the apostles, and storms are inevitable. We will be accused by Satan the accuser, trials and temptations will come our way, and they will come in different forms. It could be in form of sickness, set back in business, delay in marriage, childlessness in marriage, grief, shame, stress and many other ways we face the storms of life. No one is exempt from it; both the rich and the poor experiences it, and we are meant to conquer it with the help of God’s amazing grace.
Some Christians give up so easily, even though I know some storms are devastating. It leads them to question the power and presence of God, they wonder why they should be facing such storms in life while they are so devoted in the Church. They feel they’ve financially contributed to the Church, they read the bible daily and are prayerful. What else could God possibly want from them? They feel they shouldn’t fall sick and no misfortune should come their way. I certainly do understand that feelings, but that is not what Christianity is all about, Christ did not promise that there would be no misfortune in the world. He rather encouraged us to take up our crosses and follow Him (Mt. 16:24). This is not an encouragement to pray for crosses, Jesus Himself prayed against it, but He surrendered to the will of the Father (Lk. 22:42).
Jesus healed people, which indicates that he did not believe in the power of sickness; he healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and many other sick people were brought to him and he healed them all. God is still the same, he is still the healer; he can and he will heal you. But let us remember that to be healed and delivered are not the ultimate thing, what we do with our healing and deliverance is very important. We are healed and delivered for the glory of God, and that was while when Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, she got up and began to serve them immediately. Miracle is a call to service, it is a call to humility and a call to faith. Service is a responsibility, and that is why Paul says in our second reading this morning; I do not boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it! Our lives as Christians is a call to service, to serve in our capacities.