Beloved in Christ, on this fifth Sunday of the Ordinary Time, the liturgy of the Word calls on us to reflect deeply on the mission which Christ invites us to and our attitude of responsibility towards achieving the mission. While an obligation is a good reason to act in a certain required manner in fulfillment to our calling, responsibility is a deeper and more profound reason, laced with ethical and moral connotation, why we should act, because it is the proper way, it embodies the right motif and it shows that we ourselves are convinced of our choice to act in such manner.
In this light, responsibility as regards the Christian mission mandate is an imperative, a duty and an obligation; we owe God and our neighbour this. As such, the attitude of responsibility should be our guide in proclaiming the gospel to the ends of the earth. This was the reaction of St. Paul after his conversion; he felt that responsibility, willingness and conviction and not merely an obligation to proclaim the gospel message. He exclaimed: “woe to me, if I do not preach the gospel, for I do this of my own will”. Paul was an antagonist of the gospel until he providentially encountered Christ. This encounter transformed his life and strengthened his faith. As such, in response to his encounter, he dedicated himself to the preaching of the good news with the same zeal and zest with which he had initially used in persecuting Christians. Paul saw the mission to proclaim the Gospel as a responsibility for the salvation of others.
He was a preacher who was always hungry for the conversion of souls for Christ. Our response to our encounter with Christ is what characterises the responsibility. In other words, responsibility in mission is our response. The first reading presents us with the story of Job an innocent and faithful servant of God. Job’s faith was severely tested by the devil. He lost everything. However, and to the glory of God, Job did not lose his faith in God. Job’s response amidst these trials and problems engulfing him was the responsibility of steadfastnes; of holding on in faith. As a result of his steadfastness, God was able to use him for His mission to his friend, wife and other people of God’s faithfulness. Job’s case reminds us of our own daily struggles with the problems of life. Above all, it reminds us, of what at times, seems to us as the “grave silence or absence of God” in our lives.
They are terrible moments that make us ask questions like: God, where are you? Why me? What have I done wrong? God answers these questions at his own time. The story of Job should raise our hope and trust in the saving power of God and our responsibility to steadfastness. The gospel reading also presents us with lessons on responsibility. After teaching in the synagogue with authority in the preceding gospel periscope and healing the man with the unclean spirit. Jesus leaves the synagogue and goes to the house of Simon, Simon’s mother in-law was sick with fever and ‘’they told him about her’’ and immediately he approached her and Jesus Healed her by lifting her up. So also, going further, when it was evening, after sunset ‘’they brought to him’’ all who were ill and possessed by demons.
And he cured those who are sick and drove out many demons. One fact I want us to realize in both cases is that people mediated between Jesus and those who needed him. In the healing of Simon’s mother, it was his disciples who told Jesus that she was sick and it was the people that brought the sick and those possessed to Jesus. We can see in this act, an image of our own calling, our responsibility to bring Jesus to others and others to Jesus. The Lord looks to us all to mediate between him and others as a responsibility. We are aware of those going through some sort of difficulty or trouble, or sickness, they are our family members, our friend, those who need Jesus for one reason or the other, even those who have gone astray among us; following the way of the world, we are to show them the way to Jesus by calling on Jesus to save them, to heal them, to make them whole and to help them find their path back to him.
That is our responsibility, and a genuine response of appreciation for the gift of salvation we received at baptism because by the virtue of our baptism we too share in the ministry of Jesus to lead people to God. As such, we must never let our lifestyle lead others away from salvation. We owe others the responsibility of a decent and good Christian lifestyle. So that by our lifestyle we may win souls for Christ. Furthermore, having cured all those people and performed all those miracles, we see Jesus withdraw to a lonely place And there he prayed, this action of Christ again stresses our Christian responsibility to pray; a vital responsibility to commune with our God, to get spiritually recharged. Most times we are too busy with our daily activities and with the fact that everything is going well for us that we forget to pray, or we do not see the need to pray. Just like Jesus, we have to establish a balance between our work and duty and our prayer life, and never fall for the temptation to stop praying because we have all we need.
This is because Jesus is the source of all good things and prayer is the means of communicating with God, with Jesus, to appreciate him for all he has done for us so that he can even do more. So we have the responsibility to a constant and steady relationship with God in the form of prayer as Jesus did. One final lesson from our gospel text of today is the need to move on In Capernaum, where Jesus had performed all these miracles, Jesus would have been some sort of celebrity, for we hear the disciple say to him when they found him praying, “everyone is searching for you” but Jesus replied by telling them that they to move on and continue the work, to continue their mission. We too, after achieving a major task, we are to stop for a while, pray appreciate God and move on to the next major task and not remain stagnant basking in the former glories or wins, yes pause celebrate each win, pray thank God but do not remain stagnant, move on. We owe this responsibility to ourselves and to others and to God’s mission. May the Lord bless His Word in our hearts, and help to be truly dutiful in that which He has called us to. Amen! HAPPY SUNDAY