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The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Gospel, First Reading & Psalm


Second Reading


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GOSPEL, FIRST READING & PSALM TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year B adds another dimension to the portrait of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. As was seen this Sunday, Jesus is not just an exorcist, he is also a physician, hes also a healer. And so this Sunday we’re going to look at Mark 1:29-39, with our focus now being a little more on Jesus' healing ministry and what he was doing in that ministry.  So Mark chapter 1 says this, verse 29:

And immediately he left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.  Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.  That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.  And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him and said to him, "Every one is searching for you.”  And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out.”  And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Okay, so what are we to make of the Gospel for this Sunday?  There are lots of things to point out here.  First, notice Marks style.  Once again he uses that word “immediately” twice, and just gives you a sense of the dynamism and the activism, so to speak, in a positive sense of the word, of Jesus's ministry.  Jesus is not resting on his laurels. He's not laying about idle.  He is active; he is intent on bringing the kingdom of God wherever he goes.  Hes not resting now, he's begun his ministry. The second aspect of this story thats interesting is just the focus on the healing of Peter's mother-in-law.  Its kind of interesting, you get a little window into the personal life of one of the apostles, in which Jesus not only heals, you know, strangers in the crowd or lepers or those kind of people, but actually heals a relative of the leader of his apostles, in this case Peter, now who was called Simon at this point still.  So one of the things interesting about this particular passage is the way it describes Jesus’ healing.  So up to this point we've seen Jesus cast out demons but how does he heal? A couple things stand out.  First, Simons mother-in-law is sick just with a fever.  So this is the kind of illness that is part of ordinary life, right? And yet Jesus is still attentive to it, and he touches her by the hand, and lifts her up. And when he touches her it says the fever left her and then she came and she served them.

So I think this passage is interesting just because, you know, it's one thing to cast out a demon, as we’re going to see later in Mark's gospel, hes going to cast out a man who had a legion of demons possessing him.  It's another thing to raise Lazarus after he's been dead for three days in the tomb, like in the Gospel of John. But Jesus was also attentive to the smaller sufferings of human life, the basic things that we all struggle with, which would be sickness and illness, in this case a fever; a fever which in that first century Jewish context doesnt appear to have been life-threatening but was rendering Peter's mother-in-law unable to offer the kind of hospitality that would've been ordinary in that first century culture.  So to this day, I know in my own life, that when we have people coming over to visit, my wife takes great pride in getting the house ready and offering hospitality to our guests, right.  Its a beautiful aspect of family life and in this case what appears to be going on is that Peter's mother-in-law is unable to serve them, in other words, probably serve them food, prepare a meal, that kind of thing, in order to welcome them into the home because shes sick.  So what does Jesus do?  He reaches out, he touches her, and when he touches her, her fevers gone, she's healed.  So a beautiful little window there into the life of the apostles.

Which, as a side note, you might be wondering, well hold on a second, if Peter had a mother-in-law doesnt that suggest that Peter was married, right?  It raises the whole question of celibacy, and the priesthood, and all that. Well, I can do a whole presentation just on that but just two quick points for those who might be curious about this.  First...

SECOND READING TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

And I want to address those here, because the other aspect of Paul’s apostleship that he highlights is its universality. Notice what Paul says here:

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews…

To those outside the law I became as one outside the law… (1 Corinthians 9:20a, 21a)

In other words, to the Gentiles I became as a Gentile. Why does he do this? Why does he adapt to the people to whom he’s preaching the Gospel? It’s really simple:

I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22b)

Okay, so what’s Paul talking about here? Here Paul is describing his method of evangelization, his method of preaching the Gospel as both universal and, we might say, inculturated. It’s a modern term, but it’s an accurate one for what Paul’s doing. In other words, Paul is going to bring the Good News to anyone who will listen. His mission is both to Jews and to Gentiles, so this is really important. Sometimes people think of Paul as just the apostle to the Gentiles, because that’s how he describes himself on various occasions. But when Paul calls himself the apostle to the Gentiles, he doesn’t mean that he’s not also bringing the Good News to his brother and sister Jews, to his fellow Israelites.

In fact, if you look at the Acts of the Apostles—if you start in chapter 8 with the conversion of Paul and you go all the way through to chapter 28—every time Paul goes to a new city to preach the Good News, he always goes first to the synagogue, preaches to his fellow Jews, and then only once he’s been rejected by some or all of the people in the synagogue does he then turn and bring the Gospel to the pagans. So at the beginning of Romans, Paul says:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel...to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

So too, Paul is describing his evangelism now in 1 Corinthians 9:

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews…

To those outside the law I became as one outside the law…

...that I might by all means save some.

Now this is going to come up later in the letter to the Corinthians when Paul deals with the question of eating food sacrificed to pagan idols or not. But for now, I just want you to see the universality of his mission and also the idea of inculturating it. In other words, Paul is going to adapt the way he preaches the Gospel to whether his audience is Jewish or whether his audience is pagan. He’s going to adapt the message, so that he delivers it in the best way possible for a Jewish audience to hear it and for a Gentile audience to hear it.

And you can actually see this if you look at his different letters. You can’t prove this, but I can’t help but notice that there is evidence in Paul’s letter to the Romans, for example, that there was a large Jewish population in Rome, a large Jewish Christian population in Rome—Priscilla and Aquila are two of the examples of Jewish Christian believers who came from  Rome who were friends with Paul—to whom Paul is writing a letter to the Romans. Whereas when you look at the Church at Corinth, it appears to be predominantly—if not exclusively—of Gentiles.

Well, when you read the letters to the Corinthians—I mean, it’s complicated, but that’s because it’s Paul. But it’s really straightforward and easy to understand. But when you read Paul’s letter to the Romans, and you look at the kind of fancy, rhetorical moves that he’s making...the kind of arguments from Scriptures that he’s using...the Rabbinic methods of scriptural interpretation and argumentation that Paul’s using...one of the reasons Romans is so complicated is because he seems to be writing it with a Jewish readership as well as a Gentile readership in mind. In other words, he’s not just writing for recently converted pagans like he’s doing here in Corinthians, but he’s writing for any Jewish or Jewish Christian readers who might get their hands on the text.

So the point is that Paul adapts the Gospel to the audience to whom he is preaching it. And the reason he does that is really simple: it’s not to be two-faced. It’s not to soften or water down the Gospel. It’s for the sake of salvation.

I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22b)

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Gospel, First Reading & Psalm


Second Reading


***Subscribe or Login for Full Access.***

GOSPEL, FIRST READING & PSALM TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year B adds another dimension to the portrait of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. As was seen this Sunday, Jesus is not just an exorcist, he is also a physician, hes also a healer. And so this Sunday we’re going to look at Mark 1:29-39, with our focus now being a little more on Jesus' healing ministry and what he was doing in that ministry.  So Mark chapter 1 says this, verse 29:

And immediately he left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.  Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.  That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.  And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him and said to him, "Every one is searching for you.”  And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out.”  And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Okay, so what are we to make of the Gospel for this Sunday?  There are lots of things to point out here.  First, notice Marks style.  Once again he uses that word “immediately” twice, and just gives you a sense of the dynamism and the activism, so to speak, in a positive sense of the word, of Jesus's ministry.  Jesus is not resting on his laurels. He's not laying about idle.  He is active; he is intent on bringing the kingdom of God wherever he goes.  Hes not resting now, he's begun his ministry. The second aspect of this story thats interesting is just the focus on the healing of Peter's mother-in-law.  Its kind of interesting, you get a little window into the personal life of one of the apostles, in which Jesus not only heals, you know, strangers in the crowd or lepers or those kind of people, but actually heals a relative of the leader of his apostles, in this case Peter, now who was called Simon at this point still.  So one of the things interesting about this particular passage is the way it describes Jesus’ healing.  So up to this point we've seen Jesus cast out demons but how does he heal? A couple things stand out.  First, Simons mother-in-law is sick just with a fever.  So this is the kind of illness that is part of ordinary life, right? And yet Jesus is still attentive to it, and he touches her by the hand, and lifts her up. And when he touches her it says the fever left her and then she came and she served them.

So I think this passage is interesting just because, you know, it's one thing to cast out a demon, as we’re going to see later in Mark's gospel, hes going to cast out a man who had a legion of demons possessing him.  It's another thing to raise Lazarus after he's been dead for three days in the tomb, like in the Gospel of John. But Jesus was also attentive to the smaller sufferings of human life, the basic things that we all struggle with, which would be sickness and illness, in this case a fever; a fever which in that first century Jewish context doesnt appear to have been life-threatening but was rendering Peter's mother-in-law unable to offer the kind of hospitality that would've been ordinary in that first century culture.  So to this day, I know in my own life, that when we have people coming over to visit, my wife takes great pride in getting the house ready and offering hospitality to our guests, right.  Its a beautiful aspect of family life and in this case what appears to be going on is that Peter's mother-in-law is unable to serve them, in other words, probably serve them food, prepare a meal, that kind of thing, in order to welcome them into the home because shes sick.  So what does Jesus do?  He reaches out, he touches her, and when he touches her, her fevers gone, she's healed.  So a beautiful little window there into the life of the apostles.

Which, as a side note, you might be wondering, well hold on a second, if Peter had a mother-in-law doesnt that suggest that Peter was married, right?  It raises the whole question of celibacy, and the priesthood, and all that. Well, I can do a whole presentation just on that but just two quick points for those who might be curious about this.  First...

SECOND READING TRANSCRIPT (Subscribe or Login for Full Transcript):

And I want to address those here, because the other aspect of Paul’s apostleship that he highlights is its universality. Notice what Paul says here:

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews…

To those outside the law I became as one outside the law… (1 Corinthians 9:20a, 21a)

In other words, to the Gentiles I became as a Gentile. Why does he do this? Why does he adapt to the people to whom he’s preaching the Gospel? It’s really simple:

I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22b)

Okay, so what’s Paul talking about here? Here Paul is describing his method of evangelization, his method of preaching the Gospel as both universal and, we might say, inculturated. It’s a modern term, but it’s an accurate one for what Paul’s doing. In other words, Paul is going to bring the Good News to anyone who will listen. His mission is both to Jews and to Gentiles, so this is really important. Sometimes people think of Paul as just the apostle to the Gentiles, because that’s how he describes himself on various occasions. But when Paul calls himself the apostle to the Gentiles, he doesn’t mean that he’s not also bringing the Good News to his brother and sister Jews, to his fellow Israelites.

In fact, if you look at the Acts of the Apostles—if you start in chapter 8 with the conversion of Paul and you go all the way through to chapter 28—every time Paul goes to a new city to preach the Good News, he always goes first to the synagogue, preaches to his fellow Jews, and then only once he’s been rejected by some or all of the people in the synagogue does he then turn and bring the Gospel to the pagans. So at the beginning of Romans, Paul says:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel...to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

So too, Paul is describing his evangelism now in 1 Corinthians 9:

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews…

To those outside the law I became as one outside the law…

...that I might by all means save some.

Now this is going to come up later in the letter to the Corinthians when Paul deals with the question of eating food sacrificed to pagan idols or not. But for now, I just want you to see the universality of his mission and also the idea of inculturating it. In other words, Paul is going to adapt the way he preaches the Gospel to whether his audience is Jewish or whether his audience is pagan. He’s going to adapt the message, so that he delivers it in the best way possible for a Jewish audience to hear it and for a Gentile audience to hear it.

And you can actually see this if you look at his different letters. You can’t prove this, but I can’t help but notice that there is evidence in Paul’s letter to the Romans, for example, that there was a large Jewish population in Rome, a large Jewish Christian population in Rome—Priscilla and Aquila are two of the examples of Jewish Christian believers who came from  Rome who were friends with Paul—to whom Paul is writing a letter to the Romans. Whereas when you look at the Church at Corinth, it appears to be predominantly—if not exclusively—of Gentiles.

Well, when you read the letters to the Corinthians—I mean, it’s complicated, but that’s because it’s Paul. But it’s really straightforward and easy to understand. But when you read Paul’s letter to the Romans, and you look at the kind of fancy, rhetorical moves that he’s making...the kind of arguments from Scriptures that he’s using...the Rabbinic methods of scriptural interpretation and argumentation that Paul’s using...one of the reasons Romans is so complicated is because he seems to be writing it with a Jewish readership as well as a Gentile readership in mind. In other words, he’s not just writing for recently converted pagans like he’s doing here in Corinthians, but he’s writing for any Jewish or Jewish Christian readers who might get their hands on the text.

So the point is that Paul adapts the Gospel to the audience to whom he is preaching it. And the reason he does that is really simple: it’s not to be two-faced. It’s not to soften or water down the Gospel. It’s for the sake of salvation.

I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22b)

For full access subscribe here >

 



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