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Blog: February 4, 2024

Fr. Jeff and others share reflections on the Sunday readings.

February 4, 2024

A Message from Fr. Quan

“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.”


The readings of this week touch on one of the great mysteries of life, human suffering, especially the suffering of the innocent. The first reading taken from the book of Job was written about 500 years before the birth of Christ. It presents us with the situation of a just and upright man who suffers a terrible string of calamities. This book rejects the view – commonly held view of the time – that human suffering is a punishment from God. In this book, Job never abandoned his faith in a just and loving God. He believed his undying love for his wife would endure and be fulfilled in the eternity of God.

Even though there are times when suffering can be unbearable, we are not left to bear it alone. The responsorial psalm of this week exhorts us to ‘praise the Lord who heals the brokenhearted and binds up all their wounds’. God’s response to human suffering is to be found in Jesus Christ, especially in his actions and in his life. As today’s gospel clearly shows, Jesus went out of his way to heal all kinds of suffering, physical, mental, and spiritual. He was the lived embodiment of the divine response to human suffering, sowing seeds of hope where there he found despair, restoring broken relationships, and drawing life from the teeth of death.

Jesus came on earth to bring people into the life-giving stream of God’s love: “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10). At the very heart of his ministry was a concern for the integral well-being of human beings, created in the image of a God who is Love. From the life of Jesus, it is clear that God wants us to be healed, to be fully alive and well at all levels of our being: spiritual, psychological, and physical as well as social and political. However, Jesus did not eliminate all suffering. What he did, finally, was to enter the depths of human suffering himself. Jesus’ identification with suffering humanity reached its climax on the cross, where he cried with a loud voice to his father: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mt 27:46). And his Father did not forsake him but brought him through the portals of death to the fullness of resurrected life.

The God revealed in the life and death of Jesus is not indifferent to our sufferings, but a God who assumes our weakness and pain and transforms it through the power of love. By his resurrection, Jesus shows that God’s suffering love is ultimately victorious. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to imitate his example, and even in the midst of our own doubts, fears, and sufferings, to reach out to others with loving care and sow seeds of hope, believing, as Pope Francis puts it, that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit (cf. Evangelium Gaudium, 276).

Jesus Christ brings the good news of healing, deliverance and empowerment to each one of us. If we have been healed and delivered by Christ, we are called to become fountains of healing to others. If we have been touched and healed, heal and touch someone else. This is what Paul mentions in the second reading: “I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.” Hence, the more we heal souls through the good news the more we too are healed.