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 A
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.

Life is drudgery! Wow! Even our Lord Jesus felt the stress and burden of people coming to Him always. Jesus is our Savior and is fully human and the readings today show forth that humanity in a way with which we can identify. So we need not fear drudgery and the weight of people relying on us and the burden of caring for others. We follow Jesus who was able to accept all of this in His humanity.

The first reading today, from the Book of Job, is all about drudgery and about God abandoning us to deal with the awful things in life—so much so that we cannot even sleep at night. Yet in the midst of all of this negativity, Job remains faithful to God. Today people leave their faith and think that there is no God because God is not a magician for us and does not make things easy for us. God is there, not to make things easy, but to be with us and to help us find the wisdom of living. Job recognizes this even when all of his friends turn against him and tell him that he does not understand God.

The second reading today is from the First Letter to the Corinthians and is the reflection of Saint Paul on the same kind of situation. We are caught by God and must do His will because we believe in Him. So Paul preaches the Good News of Jesus Christ whether it is well received or badly received. Paul does what he must do because he has met the Lord. Job did the same because in some way he had encountered the Living God.

Then the Gospel today, from Saint Mark, tells us about Jesus, who had the same kind of experiences. He comes and heals the mother-in-law of Saint Peter. Then others come to be healed. His fame goes out everywhere—not so much because people are looking for God directly, but because they want healing and miracles. Me, too! I want healing and miracles! But I can come to recognize that God gives many kinds of healing and miracles and not always what I want.

The readings today invite us to reflect profoundly on the presence of God in our world. We also want God to impose Himself in a way that can no longer be questioned. God has never done that. God is a mystery and lives in that mystery in a way which always challenges us to believe or to reject. We know that even those who saw the miracles of Jesus, those who knew Him personally and admired Him, left Him and abandoned Him when He was crucified. What a test!

We also find it relatively easy to believe when all goes well, when everything points to the presence of God, when good things happen. When things begin to go wrong, we doubt. When there is nothing that seems to point to the existence of God, we too fall to the wayside. When bad things happen, we question the divine presence. We are humans. And yet, God invites us to live as divine beings, with faith, trusting in the way of Job and of Saint Paul, walking in faith—obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us trust in Him.