What a Lot of Work!

(Homily for Fifth Ordinary Sunday, Year B)

In a few verses St. Mark describes: the healing of Simon's mother-in-law and many others who were sick or possessed by evil spirits; a nocturnal prayer interrupted by people seeking Jesus and then a tour of synagogues to preach and expel evil spirits.

Reading this passage, I had two reactions: How awesome to be an apostle of Jesus, but also what a lot of work!

Let's take the awesome part first. Once while celebrating Spanish Mass at Holy Family, I had this experience: Our church, which holds around 800, was overflowing. Amidst the confusion of children who had broken loose from their parents and young people milling around, there came a moment of reverence, almost silence. The strangeness of it struck me - myself, a country boy brought up in the 50's, in front of these people of such a different culture. What united me so deeply to them? What did I offer them? The answer was Christ.

It was not just that I had learned their language and something about their culture. Holy Family has parishioners who have arrived from cultures I only know dimly. We have no common language, yet we possess a common inheritance. When I celebrate a sacrament, for example the anointing of the sick, or give a blessing, something happens on a level more profound than words.

It is awesome that, like Jesus in Galilee, so many people look to the priest for their deepest needs. Any other job - even a doctor or politician or journalist - pales by comparison.

But of course the priesthood is not a job. Even so, in spite of the mysteries we handle, a certain routine, even boredom and drudgery can set in. Sometime a person will pour out their heart to me, expressing what they never dared tell anyone else. I listen with as much attention and compassion as I can muster - but at the same time I am trying to remember what I have in the refrigerator...

In today's first reading, Job describes the tedium which pervades every human life. Even the great men who changed the course of history experienced it. Consider such giants as Julius Caesar, Dwight Eisenhower or Pope John Paul II. Their lives had dramatic moments which affected millions, yet also long periods of routine work, obscurity and loneliness.

To continue as Jesus' apostles we need both the vision which comes from prayer and the humble patience to accept routine work.


Versión Castellana

From the Archives:

Fifth Sunday, Year B, 2012: I Do So Willingly
2009: Entrusted With a Stewardship
2006: Eros and Agape
2003: What a Lot of Work!

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Bulletin (Animal Rights & Human Rights; Reflection on Cloning, 30th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade)

Financial Report (July 1 - December 31, 2002)


Simple Catholicism (New! Thanks to my niece Sara Bloom)

Pictures from Peru (Portrait of my mom, third anniversary Mass - January 27, 2003)

Pictures from Wedding of Lucho & Luz (January 31, 2003; Puno, Peru)

Can you help this man? Peruvian Burn Victim, Fidel Quezada Borda:

SMV Bulletin

Pictures from Peru

(Major Robert D. Lindenau Tutoring Program)

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