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Reflection on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted on February 4, 2024, by Maria Visse SL

Today we go from abject failure to a light at the end of the tunnel. I know I have had “Job” moments in my life journey. Debilitating health conditions, the military takeover in Chile, the divisions in the U.S. that have been promoted, I think, to build up a hope for a strong individual to solve all the problems. We’ve all been there, bad times followed by new beginnings. Job then Jesus. 

There are five books in the Old Testament that are known as the “wisdom” books. The cycle begins with The Book of Job: This is a conversation between Job and three or four friends about recompense. Job is being put to a test. Why, of a sudden, has he “been assigned months of misery?” To this question by a good man in affliction there is no intellectually satisfactory answer as long as we hold the theory of adequate retribution on earth. (Old Testament theme) This is the book’s lesson: Faith must remain even when understanding fails. The Book of Job, some 15 pages of dialogue and poetry, comes to a happy ending. God restores Job’s fortunes. Now that is bad times followed by new beginnings.

The Book of Job is followed by The Psalms. In today’s readings, Psalm 147 sings, “Praise the Lord for God is good; sing praise to our God for God is gracious.” God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, tells the number of the stars and calls each by name. God sustains the lowly; the wicked are cast to the ground. Bad times followed by moments of turning away from feelings of misery and opening our hearts and raising our voices in joyful song. The light at the end of the tunnel. 

Reflection on the life and teachings of Jesus does open our hearts. St. Paul says, “When I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.” 

All we do is focused on having a share in the potential of a message that is one simple, straight declaration: “Love one another.” We find ways to go out to those in need of healing. Maybe just a touch, a quiet time of listening, a noisy, disturbing demonstration, a letter, a phone call. And like Jesus we find time for quiet contemplation that opens our hearts and clears the clutter of self.


Maria Visse SL

Maria, a member of the Sisters of Loretto since 1955, served as the Loretto Motherhouse Service Coordinator for many years. Among her many other works, she served as a labor and delivery nurse. In 2017, she and Kay Carlew SL spent a month in Ghana visiting with and observing the work of the Daughters of the Most Blessed Trinity, one of Loretto’s sister communities. A gifted singer and musician, Maria often may be found leading the congregation in song.