By Rose Davis

This Sunday, February 8, 2015, is the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The readings will be:  Job 7:1-4, 6-7; 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; and Mark 1:29-39.

          The book of Job was written some time between the 5th and 7th centuries B.C. by an unknown author.  Included in the Old Testament’s wisdom literature, this book is named after its main character, Job, and ponders the question of human suffering. 

          At the time, suffering was understood as the consequence and punishment for sinfulness.  Job, however, was a very good man who suffered almost unimaginable heartache and disaster:  the loss of wealth and property, the loss of his children, affliction of disease, sorrow and depression.  Rejecting the explanation that affliction was punishment for sin, Job appealed to God for an explanation.  In the portion of the scripture that we hear next Sunday, Job has lost all perspective and is hopeless. But in later passages, after strenuously questioning God, and listening to God’s expansive response, Job’s perspective and hope and trust in God are restored     

Our first reading, from Job, will prepare us to hear the Gospel reading in which Mark describes Jesus as the one who has come to heal sickness and proclaim good news.  We will hear how Jesus first cured Peter’s mother-in-law and then “all who were ill or possessed by demons,” before moving on to nearby villages “to preach there also.”  Jesus moves on to heal more lives through his deeds and words.  “For this purpose,” Jesus says, “have I come.”