Divine and Human Labors

Each Lent we make a point of listening to Jesus Christ Superstar. All the songs are memorable but one in particular stands out as it describes the crowds pressing upon Jesus with their cries for healing.

See my eyes, I can hardly see. See me stand, I can hardly walk. I believe you can make me whole. See his tongue, he can hardly talk!

Will you touch, will you mend me, Christ? Won’t you touch, will you heal me, Christ? Will you kiss, you can cure me, Christ?

I thought of these lyrics while reflecting on today’s readings from the book of Job, and the gospel of Mark. They speak of labor, both human and divine.

Job laments his human labors as miserable and unhappy. As long as he is on earth, his days shall be filled with drudgery and his nights are “filled with restlessness until the dawn.” He sees himself as no more than a slave. We can all recognize this as the “Sunday night syndrome;” that is thinking ahead to returning to work the next day we lament that our weekend fun is over.

Called to Work

Mark’s Gospel tells us of Jesus returning to Capernaum to rest. Upon arriving at Peter’s, he sees Peter’s ailing mother-in-law and, with his touch, heals her. Barely is the evening meal over that she has prepared when the members of the town bring “all who were ill or possessed by demons” for healing. So much for his rest and relaxation! Retreating from the crowds before dawn of the next day, Jesus heads to a deserted place to pray. His moments of speaking with his Father end as “Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, ‘Everyone is looking for you’ “.

Being in the world, we have to labor for our needs and our family’s. Often our work is drudgery. Being both divine and human, Jesus understands that work must be done and at times it is hard and demanding. Jesus knows he is tasked to preach; “For this purpose have I come.” In our lives, what are we tasked to do?

The gift of true bodily healing has been given to a very few but how often have you done something for another, and they tell you how much better they feel? How many times have you put aside your plans to relax because someone needed your help? As Catholic Christians, these labors are more important than getting a paycheck. Labors of love will earn our eternal reward in Heaven.

Called to Pray

Again, being in the world, we have to work, and God recognizes the value of our work but know that we can always turn to Him on those days we feel like Job. Jesus provides us with the example that as the crowds press upon him, demanding his healing; he pulls away to speak with his Father. So, when life’s demands appear overwhelming, like Jesus, take the time for prayer.

[Readings: Jb 7:1-4, 6-7; 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23; Mk 1:29-39]

John and Kathy Schultz

Kathy and John have been married for 38 years. We have four children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law and two adorable grandchildren. We are life-long Catholics, originally from the Northeast, now residing in North Carolina. We are both involved in a number of ministries in our local Raleigh parish.

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