Gospel Reflection for the Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time – Year B – February 8th 2015
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped, her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.
In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’
And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.
First reading is tough to hear and we admire Job (Job 7:1-4.6-7) . We talk of the patience of Job. But for many it is real – depression. Job is the example and the hero of depression. He just had it bad. All had gone wrong and he felt no good, no hope, no meaning. Family collapsed, wealth disappeared and he cursed the day he was born. He went through all of the depressions people have, but somehow kept that glimmer of light alive. He never totally lost God, and God never lost him.
Depression is a huge illness. Many suffer; many are affected. You may have had treatment; you may live with someone.
At the worst of the burnout I couldn’t say mass, never mind preach. Dry, empty, without light or life. Thanks again for the card you sent. It means a lot to me. Funny, in the worst of my anxiety, nothing, no compliment, no reassurance… meant anything to me.
Thoughts get black – suicidal, seeing nothing good in the self or others; feeling oceans of self-pity, guilt, shame, anger.
There are many helps on the human level. There is the help also of faith and prayer at times. And the help of someone who, listens, sympathises, doesn’t judge nor give easy cures. Love from God never ends even though it may not appear near just now.
Donal Neary SJ