By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit. “THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ JOB 7:1-4, 6-7 FIRST READING
(“Remember that my life is like the wind,”)
- Who is speaking, and about whom is he speaking? Job 1:1, Job 6:1
- What is Job saying about man’s life on earth, and what are his days like? Job 7:1
- What is man and for what is he longing? As a hireling, for what does he wait? Job 7:2
- What is vanity? Ecclesiastes 2:23
- What is man born of woman? Job 14:1
- All the days of drudgery, for what will I wait? Job 14:14
- What has Job been assigned day and night? Job 7:3
Personal – Does your life seem hopeless, and do you dread each day because of your suffering?
- What is considered, and from whose hand comes violence? Ecclesiastes 4:1
- What does Job say from the bed, what does the night do, and with what is he filled? Job 7:4
- What are his days, and how do they come to an end? Job 7:6, Job 9:25
- What does Job remember, and what shall he not see again? Job 7:7
Personal – Are you or do you know people who are chronic sufferers? How have you responded to their suffering?
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 9:16-19, 22-23 SECOND READING
(“To the weak I become weak, to win over the weak.”)
- What has been imposed on Paul if he preaches the Gospel, what is there no reason for him to do, and what happens if he does not preach it? 1 Corinthians 9:16
- To whom is Paul obligated to preach? Romans 1:14-15
- What is it impossible for us to do? Acts 4:20
- What happens when we do not speak in his name? Jeremiah 20:9
- If Paul preaches willingly, what does he have; and if he preaches unwillingly, what does he have? 1 Corinthians 9:17
- When preaching the Gospel, how does Paul offer it, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 9:18
- How did Paul humble himself so that others might be exalted? 2 Corinthians 11:7
- What did Paul do to win over as many as possible? 1 Corinthians 9:19
- What did Jesus say we must do if we wish to become great? Matthew 20:26-27
- What do we preach? 2 Corinthians 4:5
- What does Paul become to the weak, and for what reason? What has he become to all? 1 Corinthians 9:22
- How did Paul come, how was his message proclaimed, and for what reason? 1 Corinthians 2:3-5
- Why does Paul do what he does, and also for what personal reason? 1 Corinthians 9:23
Personal – How have you preached the Gospel message to your family, friends, co-workers, or schoolmates? How has the Lord spoken to you personally about this?
FOURTH DAY READ MARK 1:29-39 GOSPEL
(“Then the fever left her and she waited on them.”)
- As Jesus left the synagogue, where did he go, and who was with him? Mark 1:29
- Who was sick with a fever, and what did they do immediately? Mark 1:30
- When Jesus approached her, what did he grasp, and what did he help her do? What happened to her, and what did she do? Mark 1:31
- What did Jesus instruct his disciples to do in regard to the sick? Matthew 10:8
- When it was evening, whom did they bring to Jesus? Mark 1:32
- Who was at the door, and whom did he cure? What did he drive out of many, and what did he not permit them to do? Mark 1:33-34
- How did Jesus expel the spirits, whom did he cure, and what did this fulfill? Matthew 8:16-17
- When did Jesus rise, where did he go, and what did he do? Mark 1:35
- What happened after Jesus was baptized and he was praying? Luke 3:21-22
- What were different occasions when Jesus went off to pray? Matthew 14:1-23, Matthew 26:36, 39
- What did Simon and those who were with him do, and on finding him, what did they say? Mark 1:36-37
- Where did Jesus invite them to go, and for what purpose had he come? Mark 1:38
- What did Jesus do in their synagogues? Mark 1:39
- Whom did Jesus cure? Matthew 4:23-24
Personal – In your life, how have you felt the healing touch of Jesus? What has been your response to his touch? How have you allowed his Holy Spirit to touch others through you?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 147:1-6
(“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 147:1-6
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
JOB 7:1-4, 6-7
The Book of Job raises the same questions today as it did in his time. The question is: “Why does the just man suffer?” In the presence of God’s awesome power, Job remains speechless, simply because man is too weak and ignorant to comprehend the awesomeness of God. God wants man’s humility, not his pride and wisdom. Yet the standard Old Testament teaching at the time of Job was that sin was behind suffering, and virtue was behind happiness.
The story of Job is about a virtuous man who suffers tremendously. We see in Job’s comments a restlessness and frustration, but no denial of belief. As we read further in Job, we see a determination building in a faith that strives to believe in God’s loving concern for him despite all the appearances to the contrary. Job was struggling and he even saw no hope of going on in his sickly condition, but he did not give up.
Today we are told that all things happen for the good of those who believe (Rom. 8:28), and we believe that in God’s timing, a virtuous person will be happy. Like Job, we need to humbly accept the divine order of God’s plan. In effect, we are a people who do not know the ultimate reason for the existence of suffering. You and I must have that same determination that Job had, and in God’s timing he will work with us, just like he did with Job (1 Peter 5:7).
We see in Job’s story a lesson for all of us, and that is that we will not grow without pain. We are told that suffering brings obedience (Hebrews 5:8) and obedience is the core of love. Jesus endured all of his suffering for us, and in his obedience he went to the cross for us. He then rose from the dead for us, so that all who believe in him would be free in Spirit with him forever.
1 CORINTHIANS 9:16-19, 22-23
In today’s reading we see that preaching was Paul’s gift and calling. He tells us that he could not stop preaching even if he wanted to stop. Like the two men on the road to Emmaus, there was a fire burning in Paul’s heart (Luke 24:32). He desired to do what God wanted and he would use his gifts for God’s glory. Have we realized what special gifts God has given us? Are we motivated like Paul? Is there a fire burning within our heart to glorify God with our gifts?
Paul is telling us that he is glad he is not held back by the obligation of being paid a salary. His freedom to preach freely allows him to be the slave of all, so that they may listen and come to Christ. We need to reflect on how much our job dictates how much we will exercise our faith. Are we able and ready to say that no job, no salary, or no peer pressure shall prevent me from preaching and living God’s Holy Word? The goal of Paul was to glorify God and bring people to Christ. Is our goal the same as Paul’s?
Paul shows us that we must be very much aware of where people are and then meet them right there. He does not try to make people be at a certain place before he brings them to Christ. Paul knew who he was and because of this, he was able to meet people on a common ground. We need to know who we are before we can go out to bring others to Christ.
You are the reason Jesus Christ died on the cross at Calvary. He loves you so much that he took all of your sins and had them nailed to the cross with him. He died so you could live forever. He rose so that you would be with him for all eternity. That is who you are, a very precious child of God, and anything else is a distortion. Because you are loved, you are now capable of loving others and bringing others to Christ. Like Paul, let the burning of fire in your heart send you forth to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).
Today’s Gospel shows us the healing power of Jesus toward someone he knew and toward a whole town of people whom he did not know. Jesus touched Peter’s mother-in-law and she immediately became well and got up and began serving them. The impact of this event spread throughout the town and by sunset the area around Peter’s house was filled with the sick and demon-possessed. A large crowd watched while the sick were being healed.
Today Jesus heals as vividly as ever, but somehow it seems to be downplayed in our communities. Many people are afraid to ask Jesus for a healing because they are not sure that he will heal them. The people who flocked to Peter’s house were not afraid what others thought of their religious zeal. They knew that ritual and ceremony did not heal, but this incredible preacher of God did heal.
Today, in this world of high technology and education, there are many who seem to depend more on man’s ability to solve our deep inner emotional, physical and spiritual problems. Yet, the level of hunger, loneliness, disease, divorce, crime and violence seems to be as bad as it was at any other time in civilization. Like Peter’s mother-in-law, we need to trust in Jesus for our healing, accept it, and go on in life.
We see Jesus getting up long before daybreak to pray alone. He needed his quiet time every morning and so do we. Jesus’ prayer time was the cornerstone of his authority. He was in constant prayer with his Father and from him he drew his strength. From whom do you draw your strength? If it is from people, programs, or religion, you will eventually become drained. We have been blessed to have the presence of Christ in our prayer time, sacraments, worship, Eucharist, and in our church through fellowship. Jesus said that he had to go on to other places to bring his message to the sick and demon-possessed. You are called by your baptism to do the very same thing (Matthew 28:19). You must always remember that prayer is the vital link between us and God. Jesus always took time to pray.
The first reading tells us that suffering is behind virtue as well as sin. The second reading reveals that our gifts and talents come from God. We see in the Gospel the importance of prayer in the life of Jesus.
This week, choose someone in your family or someone you know and become their unknown special prayer partner. Be specific and obedient in your prayer time. Place this person in the throne of the Lord and watch the healing that will take place. Praise God before your requests for healing and praise Him afterward. Then get ready to experience God’s mighty power.