Field Hospital

Field Hospital

by John Dalla Costa

Pope Francis often describes the church as a “field hospital.” The world’s wounds are not of tangential concern to the church. They are its holy mission. Indeed, evangelization is empty without attending to both the causes and aftermaths of those injuries that effect the health of body, mind, heart and soul. Early church fathers and mothers recognized that, as the mystical body of Christ, the church must continue the healing work of Jesus’ ministry. St. John Chrysostom called the church “a hospital for sinners, not a court of law.” St. Ambrose recognized that “sickness needs medicine. The medicine is the heavenly and venerable sacrament of the Eucharist.” Pope Francis is retrieving this ancient legacy, while also renewing it. He is asking us each to go into the world, as only we can – in the fields of our own our workplaces and classrooms, of our daily meetings and coffeeshop encounters, of our political activity and social justice work – to bring, as Jesus did, sacramental healing, hope and joy to others. Today’s readings remind us of the revolutionary power to heal that we’ve inherited through Baptism. The law in Leviticus logically sought to protect the community from leprously, which is as contagious as it is catastrophic. The burden of the law, however, fell on the ill, so that those afflicted with the disease were held responsible for their own painful ostracization. Jesus reverses this law, making himself vulnerable to the most vulnerable. In the passage preceding today’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples : “Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also.” Moving into the field, which is always unpredictable and dangerous, Jesus meets the leper, and heals him. Such a hospital is not a place, but a disposition: it is not a structure, but an encounter, which looks beyond legal responsibility to attend to the moral needs of the human person before, or beside us. Not surprisingly, the medicine we usually most need personally is often the same as that, which by our gifts, and by God’s grace, only we can administer to others.

Sunday’s Readings:

  • Leviticus 13.1-2, 45-46
  • Psalm 32
  • 1 Corinthians 10.31-11.1
  • Mark 1.40-45

Hope

Hope
by Lisa Fernandes

Today’s readings are about hope. Job is a man who exemplifies suffering. He is subjected to many trials and tribulations and in the first reading we feel his misery when he appeals to us by saying: “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and come to their end without hope. Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good.” (Job 7. 6-7) To him life seems hopeless; but he does not lose faith.

In the second reading we hear of Paul’s mission as an apostle, to teach the Gospel and spread the hope of Christ. We see his passion for his work when he says: “I have become all things to all people so that I might by any means save some. I do it for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessing.” (I Corinthians 9.22-23) The second reading shows us hope in action, not just personal but spreading the good news to others.

I attended a veneration of a relic of St. Francis Xavier recently at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica. He has been called the greatest missionary since St. Paul. He baptized around one hundred thousand people and performed miracles of healing and others. As I did, thousands of people lined up across Canada to venerate the relic, a physical symbol of a man who brought hope and the good news of the Gospel to so many, and continues to do so even now. It was uplifting to see this turnout at a time when there does not seem to be a lot of hope in the world.

The Gospel shows us hope fulfilled by the power of Christ’s deeds. Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law and cures many others from the city who were sick and possessed. We feel hope for ourselves when we see what Jesus can do for the whole city and even more so for humanity when he says: “Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do” (Mark 1.29). In this case hope fulfilled becomes reality. Let us pray that we continue to hold to our hope in Christ.

Sunday’s Readings:
Job 7.14, 6-7
Psalm 147
1 Corinthians 9.16-19, 22-23
Mark 1.29-39

Are You Listening?

Are You Listening?

by Jessica De Luca

Following the Epiphany of our Lord, our weekly readings have reminded us that God speaks to each one of us. You may recall the story of Samuel hearing the voice of the Lord, or Jesus calling his disciples in Galilee. Entering now the fourth week of Ordinary Time, we are being asked more directly – Have you heard God’s call? Are you listening? This may seem like a daunting question. In my own journey of faith, I had often struggled to hear God’s call, even at times when I especially hoped for God’s guidance. With help from a friend, I realized that what I lacked in my relationship with God were moments of silence. Although I found the silence fruitful, it was not an easy solution. In fact, finding time to sit with God in silence each day requires discipline. As our second reading tells us, our anxieties can stop us from making space for God in our daily lives. “O that you would listen to the voice of the Lord. Do not harden your hearts!” Along with the readings, Psalm 95 challenges us to act. Are you listening? If you have heard God’s call, how will you respond? When we do hear God calling, we are propelled into action. All of us are instructed to live God’s message through our words and deeds, everyday. As we draw near to World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life, let us keep in mind those who have heard God’s call, and serve the Lord as Sisters, Deacons, Brothers, Priests, and Lay Ministers. May we all grow to know God by opening our hearts to hear God’s voice. Amen.

Sunday’s Readings:

  • Deuteronomy 18.15-20
  • Psalm 95
  • 1 Corinthians 7.32-35
  • Mark 1.21-28