First Reading
Job 7:1-4, 6-7

Job spoke, saying: Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings? He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages. So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me. If in bed I say, “When shall I arise?” then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn. 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.

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23

Brothers and sisters: If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.

Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Mark 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, 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, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” 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.

If we listen to the readings today, we can see a strong sense of humor in the hard work of proclaiming God’s Word and in doing God’s Work.

The first reading, from the Book of Job, is all about the drudgery of just living, without even any energy to speak about God or about something divine in life! Just living out daily existence in a pain and the author thinks that everything is just not worth doing. This is truly a depressed view of life, but one that is all too common among many people.

Jesus, in the Gospel, cures the mother-in-law of Peter. The next thing that happens is that everyone sick in the whole neighborhood is brought to Jesus. The next morning Jesus rises early to go away and pray alone, in a deserted place. But even then the people come looking for him.

This is a different view of drudgery! Jesus is not portrayed as running away from this multitude that seeks him, but rather, Jesus sees this as his call: Preaching the Word of God. And in that preaching, he does healings as well.

The Book of Job sees really nothing good about life: just live it and get through it! The Gospel, on the other hand, sees that the purpose is to proclaim God’s wonderful works and to do them in action, in healing and in other ways.

Saint Paul, in the second reading today, is also pondering what it means to preach the Gospel. Paul’s attitude is very close to that of Jesus Himself. Paul tells us that he cannot do anything else than preach what he has received.

What about us in all of this? Do we feel any pressure from the Word of God in our lives? Do we feel called by God at all? Or is our life much more like that of what Job is describing? Do we just hope that we can get through life, since it all seems not to matter that much anyway?

We have to be honest about these things! We cannot pretend that the Gospel and the teachings of Christ or the teachings of the Church mean anything to us if, in fact, they really don’t touch our lives. Many of us can remember periods in our lives when the teachings of Christ were not very strong or did not touch us. Some of us can actually say now that we try to live as Saint Paul did and as Jesus taught us: proclaiming the marvelous works of God by the way we live and the way we speak about our Lord.

So many of us would like to believe and sort of keep that belief simply in our own hearts and not have to say anything about it to anyone else. Can we imagine anyone who has just unexpectedly won and enormous fortune remaining silent about that to his or her best friends? It would not be normal! When we are surprised with some unexpected good, we almost always want to share that unexpected joy and gladness with others.

That is what happened to the early followers of Jesus and it can happen to us as well. Let us ask today that we may know this divine presence within us, that we may experience it as unexpected treasure and that we learn how to share it with others.