Preach it and Live it!

Editor’s Note: Reflection on the Mass readings for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – Job 7:1-4, 6-7; Psalms 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; First Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23; Mark 1:29-39. This series appears each Wednesday.

Photography © by Andy Coan

The Bible is not just for churches and synagogues. Portions of it are read as literature, even in secular university classrooms.  Invariably, when you look at the syllabus of such courses, you find Job.

It’s not hard to see why.  Job poignantly expresses what all human beings experience at one time or another – the feeling that life is a burden, that our daily routine is drudgery, that our suffering is meaningless, that there’s not much hope for our future (Job 7:1-7).

Things are tough all over – in Job’s day, in ours, in Peter’s.  It’s all about trying to earn a living and raise a family with taxes, government, disease, and unexpected tragedies yapping at our heels.

The Gospel (Mark 1:29-39) shows us such a world that is suddenly turned upside down by someone who breaks all the rules.  Demons that normally inspire terror themselves run away in fear.  Fevers flee.  Incurable illnesses yield.  Instead of talk about the burden of the law with its innumerable regulations, Good News is announced that gives people hope again.  The Good News is that God is on the move; that he, not the Emperor or the Prince of Darkness, is King, and he is not slave-master but Father.  The person responsible for all this commotion happens to look like one of them, and indeed is one of them, but does things that only God can do.  As He speaks, they begin to feel as if the world may have meaning; that life may actually be worth living. They want to be with him, to hear his electric words and see his astonishing deeds.  So they won’t leave him alone.  Crowds gather outside the door of the humble place where he is staying.

What happens next is instructive.  Knowing his need for communion with his Heavenly Father, he rises early next morning to seek solitude and a few moments in prayer.  But they need him.  So they send the apostles to track him down.  When they find him, he is not annoyed.  He does not protest that it is his day off and tell them to come back tomorrow or sometime next week.  He has come to bring Good News, to bring light to those in darkness, healing to the suffering.  Many are desperate, so his mission is urgent.  He gets up, but doesn’t return to Capernaum.  Instead, he moves on to other towns.  Those who wish to enjoy the excitement of his company must join him in his mission.

St. Paul has the same sense of urgency as his master (I Corinthians 9:16-19).  He is aware of being entrusted with an awesome responsibility.  It is not an option for him to share the gospel.  What he has received as a gift, the most precious gift imaginable, he must give as a gift.  And he must give it not only to those he likes, or those with whom he has some natural bond.  He must not do it only when it suits him, when it is convenient.  No, he must exert himself.  He must seek common ground with all, Jew, Greek, weak, strong, educated, uneducated–so as to express the gospel to them in a way that they can understand.  And this mission led him to cover more ground than even his master–not just Judea and Galilee, but what are now Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

Not all are called to be traveling preachers like our Lord and St. Paul.  But the Church teaches unequivocally that membership in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church is not just about being saved and enjoying God’s company.  There is a suffering world out there that desperately needs the saving truth and healing touch of Christ.  Notice that immediately upon being healed, Peter’s mother-in-law began working.   Baptism is completed by confirmation, an anointing to serve.  You can’t be fully a member of the apostolic church without participating in the apostolic mission.


Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio writes from Texas. For his resources on parenting and family life or information on his pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, visit www.crossroadsinitiative.com or call 1.800.803.0118. This article originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor and is reproduced here by permission of the author.


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About the Author

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio writes from Texas. For his resources on parenting and family life or information on his pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, visit www.crossroadsinitiative.com or call 1.800.803.0118.

Raised in Italian/Irish neighborhood in Providence, RI, Marcellino D’Ambrosio never thought about being anything else but Catholic. But like other Catholic teens, his faith was the last place he looked for fulfillment. Following in the footsteps of his parents, both professional performers in their single years, Marcellino set his sights on stardom, playing bass guitar in several popular rock bands by the time he was 16. At that time he encountered a group of Catholics whose Christian life was an exciting adventure, an adventure worth living for. So he laid his bass guitar aside and embarked on a road that led to a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Catholic University of America. His doctoral dissertation, written under the direction of the renowned Jesuit theologian, Avery Cardinal Dulles, focused on one of the theological lights of the Second Vatican Council, Henri Cardinal de Lubac, and his recovery of biblical interpretation of the early Church fathers.

His writing has been published in the international journal Communio, Abingdon’s Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation, the Tablet, Catholic Digest, Our Sunday Visitor, and Catholic News Service’s syndicated column "Faith Alive." His popular book, Exploring the Catholic Church and video course by the same name (known as Touching Jesus through the Church in the USA) have been used in hundreds of parishes all throughout the English speaking world. The Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions about the Passion of the Christ, of which he is co-author and co-editor, may prove to be the fastest-selling Catholic book of all time with over a million copies sold in less than three months.

Dr. D’Ambrosio, the father of five and a business owner, brings to his teaching a practical, down-to-earth perspective that makes his words easy to understand and put into practice. Audio and video recordings of his popular teaching are internationally distributed. He often appears on the international Eternal Word Television Network is regularly heard on the nationally syndicated radio show "Catholic Answers Live." Dr. D'Ambrosio has been a guest on Geraldo Rivera, At Large on FoxNews Channel, the Bill O'Reilly radio show and Radio America's news program Dateline: Washington.

In 2001 Dr. D’Ambrosio left his position at the University of Dallas to develop the work of Crossroads Productions, the apostolate of Catholic renewal and evangelization that he co-founded twenty years ago, and to more directly oversee the growth of Wellness Opportunities Group a company dedicated to helping people improve the quality of their lives physically, mentally, and financially. He, his wife Susan, and their five children, reside just outside of San Antonio, TX.

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