Bishop Banda’s Homily, Sunday, 5th Week, Year B.
Our reading from the Book of Job was written many centuries before Christ. However, reflecting on the same, it gives an impression as if it was written the other day.
We know of people who suffer without any hope of getting better. Probably we may have experienced the same at one time or another. We may have experienced moments when life seemed more like an absurdity than a gift from God. Often than not, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. When we pray, prayer seems to mock us.
Job in his quest for an answer is not graced with one to the question of suffering – and he remains a symbol of all the innocent in history, who wonder at their pain. Job is familiar to us, and we share his hurt, anguish and bewilderment. We share in his questions and despair and still wonder – but why the suffering?
However, it is our faith in the unbounded love of God which moves us to trust that there is something, “behind the veil” of suffering, pain and hurt. Death and loss are real but they are not the final. Nothing of value is ever lost. All that is good returns to its maker – never destroyed – there it becomes ever more perfected. Each of us is forever remembered by God and kept in His love. God’s unbounded love is the absolute guarantee that our anxiety about being forgotten is groundless.
Our Gospel gives us God’s response to human suffering, pain and brokenness. Simon’s mother-in-law is healed of her fever. The sick are cured. Demons are cast out. The whole town came crowding at the door of Simon’s house. Indeed Jesus responds to the suffering with the only one thing which endures – love. Love is that which heals and binds up wounds. The divine care and the love of God have become visible in Jesus.
Each day we encounter many a people who are in need of healing. Many are afraid of death; they are stressed with disease, family challenges, matrimonial difficulties, parenting obligations etc. Yet, part of our Christian vocation is to bring God’s love to others and especially those who suffer or are in need of help. We too are charged with preaching the good news. We too must join in fellowship with those in need by sharing our faith and love with them. In so doing we are helping to “lift the veil” and to reveal the love and immanent presence of God both in good and bad times.