Homily for the fifth Sunday in ordinary time, B02 Feb 2018, by Sermons in
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 coming out of the synagogue, which means that Peter did not go to “Church” that day. Something severe 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 their way? Nobody prays for misfortune, nobody prays for evil, but their presence does not signify God’s absence. 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. Satan will accuse us; the accuser, trials, and temptations will come our way and in different forms. It could be in the form of sickness, setbacks 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 experience 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 to the Church. They feel they’ve financially contributed to the Church, they read the bible daily, and they 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 understand that feeling, 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. The miracle is a call to service; it calls to humility and a call to faith. Service is a responsibility, which is why Paul says in our second reading this morning; I do not boast of preaching the gospel, since it is a duty laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it! Our lives as Christians are a call to service, to serve in our capacities.