CATHEDRAL OF ST. HELENA

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  • Deacon Bob Fishman

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

What do Sarah Vaughn, “Muddy” Waters, and the Prophet Job have in common? They were all masters at singin’ the Blues. This week’s readings have to do with being a Catholic when it is not easy to be one. The Prophet Job describes life as drudgery with days and nights full of misery. These are not very uplifting words, but often we can relate to them.

St. Paul tells the Corinthians that it is not easy preaching the gospel. Yet he knows his reward is in Christ. Finally we have the gospel reading, and our own Blessed Lord Jesus cannot seem to go anywhere without being mobbed by those wanting a miracle or to be healed or touched. Even going away to pray is not easy for our Lord.

However, there is an upside to being a Catholic and having the Blues. Here is a mystery for you to think about. Often in both the Old and New Testaments we are told to “praise the Lord” in good and bad situations. This is easy when things are going along fine and all is well. It is much harder when things are not going well. Perhaps an illness or a loss of a job, or even the loss of a loved one can bring us to the very depths of despair.

Here’s where the mystery comes in. Did you know that when you mix your suffering with your prayers, it becomes incredibly powerful? Why? Because it is not easy to do, and our Lord knows it. You are identifying with Christ on the Cross. You are now entering into the Passion with your own pains. By mixing your suffering and prayers together you can do major spiritual warfare in the Heavens. It is not easy and that is why it is so powerful.

Your prayers and praises now take on a super natural dimension that touches the very heart of our Lord. This is the mystery behind fasting. When you fast, you are offering your suffering with your prayers and as our Lord told the disciples, this is very powerful indeed.

So this week, take some time to offer your own Blues, troubles or sufferings to God mixed with your prayers. Perhaps try fasting for a particular intention. It will not be easy, but it will be beneficial beyond belief. So enter into a mystery. Instead of the Blues, you will be singing a new song. Something to think about, and may God richly bless you always!

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