How many times has God experienced our infidelity? How often have we taken the opportunities that God places before us and allow them to shatter on the ground of our lives like fragile pottery? Is there any question in your mind that God‘s heart has been broken?
In the midst of that brokenheartedness, God has remained faithful to us. We have such a great example in the Scriptures this weekend in the person of Job. In the seventh chapter, we hear him describe the drudgery of life and the meaninglessness of daily routines and duties. You can even hear Job’s frustration with attempts to live a meaningful life and to watch everything that he had held in value taken away from him. It isn’t hard to imagine how easy it would’ve been for Job to break God’s heart.
Is there a part of you that understands how futile life can feel? Is there a part of you that tries so hard to make things work out and they seem to fall apart? There might even be times in your life where you feel like God is not worthy of your faithfulness. Our boredom and futility can get the best of us if we’re not careful. We can end up making choices and going down those roads of life that lead to emptiness and even hopelessness. We know that it is not the intention of God to leave us with so many questions without a direction or wisdom to lead us. So what does Jesus have to teach us about living life in such away that our eyes stay on the prize and we are not diverted by the ups and downs of life?
The Gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time is filled with the wonders and the might of the life of Jesus. We hear about a great many healings, ranging from something as personal as Simon Peter’s mother-in-law to the great crowd brought to Jesus with all of their needs. You can only imagine with what wonder and all His disciples are struck. Their eyes must’ve been wide open taking in all that Jesus was doing. And who could help them from imagining all that the future might hold? If Jesus can do this, what more is possible? If He has such great power and if we stay with Him, we will end up being so popular and so sought after.
The next morning they go looking for Jesus hoping for more of the same that happened the previous day. Instead they find Him all alone in prayer. They try to tempt Him back to town by the allurement of popularity and fame, but Jesus simply directs them to the next town. His task is not to chase after what other people think of Him or how big the crowds are, but to preach and preach and preach the Good News and to heal the brokenhearted. Notice that there is no expectation of fame, fortune or popularity. He simply wants to do what He was sent to do and with those for whom He was sent.
There are plenty among us now whose hearts have been broken. There has been so much loss of life. There has been prolonged separation from those we love and loss of jobs and homes and security. We have watched some of the institutions that we always thought would work for our good to be corrupted by the allurement of power and greed. Many of us have become so used to the gifts that surround us that they become part of our ordinary life and even part of the drudgery.
Is it possible that each of us could seek out and find someone who is brokenhearted? It might be a family member, a co-worker, a neighbor or a stranger. Could we become the heart and hands of God that become the instruments for healing? Use whatever talents and gifts that God has entrusted to you to be part of the healing of our world. Act on the Word of God!
Father Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.