Job 7:1-4, 6-7
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Today’s readings seem to say a lot about how people choose what they are do with their lives. In Job we encounter someone who has lost everything. He cries out in his brokenness, "What am I to do? My entire life is drudgery." The psalm tells us that this is where God comforts us. He binds up our wounds and heals the brokenhearted. Further on in the story of Job, that is exactly what happens.
St. Paul on the other hand says,"’What am I to do? I’ve made myself a slave for others." Out of his brokenness on the road to Damascus, he has chosen his life’s work. But it appears as if once his blindness was removed he had no choice. His faith in the Gospel required him to go forth and preach it.
The gospel reading provides a clue for how we can deal with life’s choices, especially when they are difficult or unclear.
In the first part of the Gospel, Jesus cures Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. She immediately gets up and begins to serve the people around her. (An interesting side note, the word that is here translated ‘to serve’ can also be translated ‘to minister to,’ so we don’t really know if she was serving them lunch or helping in another capacity.) And so we have the image of someone lying in a fever, unable to stand on her own, and through the healing of Jesus she is able to get on with her life’s work.
Later Jesus says, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." You would think that given all the healings and cures in Mark’s Gospel that healing is the work of Jesus. But it is the sharing of the Kingdom of God that is the most important. The healings are just to clear the way so that people can hear that the Kingdom of God is at hand and then to get on with their own purpose in life.
My prayer for today is that I allow the healing Christ Jesus offers to remove anything that keeps me from hearing God’s word and finding my purpose.
Talib Huff is a volunteer at Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Heights, California.