Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Human promotion, proclamation and prayer

Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of a hireling? Jb 7,1 

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” Mk 1,32-38

Every morning, opening the newspaper, we realize that the situation of the man is the one reported today by Job: “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?”. The life is a struggle against external and internal negative forces: injustice and oppression on the one hand, temptation, sickness, pain and death on the other. It is the consequence of the sin of the world against which the man of God is called to fight, not to return to the original state of the earthly paradise, but to enter the Kingdom of the heaven. The mission of Jesus on the earth has been not to go back, but going forward, working for the global salvation of the mankind: “He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons”. However, he never lost the sight of the essence of his coming among us: “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come”. The evangelization, in other words, cannot ignore the human promotion, but it should not to be exhausted in it. We have much appreciated the intervention of the Vatican in these days to devote to other tasks the coordinator of the Caritas Associations, who operated only to promote the social action, ignoring the missionary aspect. The today’s Gospel of Mark describes the first messianic day of Jesus, which was a real impact with the reality of the man, in need of healing, of truth and of salvation. The next morning, however, despite the fact that all the people were looking for him, because there have always been many diseases to cure, exorcisms to do and problems to solve, he stood up when it was still dark and he retreated to a deserted place to pray . We do not know what constitutes this prayer which, placed at the end of his first mission day, will increasingly become the pivotal moment of his earthly life. While not knowing the contents, we become aware, however, of its importance, because it follows a busy day and before the passing of the first temptation, located on the lips of Peter: “Everyone is looking for you!”. If Jesus would have remained there among those people, surely he could have cured other diseases, done  other exorcisms, gathering at the end glory and benefits. Jesus, however, does not stop to solve all their problems, but before he goes to a deserted place to pray and then he says to the apostles: “Let us go on to the nearby villages!”. The human development, the evangelism and the prayer are the three moments of the day of the missionary, but it is this last one the hinge on which turns the mission, whose main purpose is to lead all people to the reality of the Kingdom of the heaven. We have experienced closely these issues in our family, because one of our sons has heard the call more to the social commitment than to the evangelization. But we pray to the purpose that he can operate on both.

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