“Praise the Lord who heals the brokenhearted.”
Life, as we know, is full of paradoxes. Where there is joy, there will also be pain. Where there is order, there will always be things that need fixing. Our lives are like that—contrasts and opposites. But they are also opportunities along the way to find God and the healing we long for.
The first reading today is from the Book of Job, a blameless man who knew setbacks and flat-out misery. Can you relate? Most of us can. Yet even in moments of despair Job never lost sight of God’s presence. We can take comfort from a man who gave himself over to God with the wisdom of faith and the knowledge that his Creator would never abandon him. Here’s what Job said:
“Yet he knows my way:
if he tested me, I should come forth like gold.
My foot has always walked in his steps;
I have kept his way and not turned aside.
From the commands of his lips I have not departed;
the words of his mouth I have treasured in my heart.”
– Job 23:10-12
I believe Job is telling us an important lesson: When we are willing to see beyond the moment, God will lead us through the challenges toward new life. That’s the Paschal Mystery, a theme we will explore very soon during Lent. The passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the very work that God the Father sent his Son to accomplish on earth. And it’s a sign of our own passage to new life from disappointments and setbacks each time we put ourselves in God’s hands.
Yes, there will be challenges, and even broken hearts. God never says life will be easy. Just that the presence of the Lord in our lives is eternal, no matter the hardship. Our challenge is to accept that we can’t always lift ourselves out of difficulties on our own. But with God’s help we can. We only need to be like Job: praise God, affirm God’s presence, and allow the Paschal Mystery to transform us as inheritors of the kingdom.
Friend, can I give you a homework assignment? Think about a time when God helped you heal at a difficult moment. If you can remember the steps you took, you know that you didn’t heal alone. Your faith was the necessary healing agent. God was there to offer comfort and encouragement: in the words of the Gospel, in Christ’s promise of salvation, at Mass and in the Sacraments. And let’s not forget the kindness of family and friends. They know us almost as well as God does. For the times you may be passing through a difficult moment, remember that God is with you. That’s when the healing begins.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus, healer and divine physician
stretch forth Your healing hands
and touch my wounded heart.
May the power of Your presence
lift my spirit, strengthen my soul
and, if it be Your will, drive far from me
any illness, disease or affliction
that keeps me from living life
to the full, as You promised.
Jesus, Son of God, and son of Mary,
visit me in my darkness and doubt.
Let Your light dispel the shadows
of sadness and depression
to help me find anew
the joy and peace I long for.
Lord, I am not worthy
that You should enter under my roof.
Say but the word and my soul,
my mind, and my body will be healed.
Stay with me, Jesus, when night falls
and fears grow, and my faith falters.
Fill me with sweet assurance
that you who died to set us free
will never abandon me to face
life’s trials alone.
Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso