Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Catechist

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Catechist Background and Preparation
To prepare for this session, read all the readings.

Job 7:1-4, 6-7
Psalm 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Mark 1:29-39

Spend a few minutes reflecting on what these readings mean for you today. Is there a particular reading that appeals to you? Is there a word or image that engages you?

Read the following Word in Liturgy and Catholic Doctrine sections. Read the Word in Liturgy and Catholic Doctrine sections. These give you background on what you will be doing this session. Read over the session outline and make it your own. Check to see what materials you will need.

The Word In Liturgy

The story of Job is an extraordinary literary and theological treatment of the theme of innocent human suffering. It provides a fitting introduction to our focus today on the problem of evil.

When the prosperous and just Job is suddenly afflicted by the death of his children, the loss of his wealth, and personal illness, a series of “friends” argue that his misfortunes must be punishment for some sin. Today’s passage represents his response to one of these friends, rejecting such shallow theologizing in the face of his misery. The passage connects Job’s personal lament with all innocent human suffering. Job’s plight is not unique to him, but resonates in countless lives as a deep mystery that cannot be easily explained.

Today’s gospel passage is the conclusion of last week’s reading concerning one day in the life and ministry of Jesus. Although in Mark’s gospel the works of Jesus reveal him in various ways, the fullness of his true identity may only be grasped by following him all the way through his suffering, death, and resurrection. The “messianic secret,” characteristic of Mark’s gospel, is exemplified in today’s reading when the demons know the identity of Jesus but are forbidden to speak. The passage shows that Jesus continues his work of healing and exorcism. His healing of Simon’s mother-in-law is perhaps a baptismal image, as she is “raised up” by Jesus and begins to serve. The pressures of Jesus’ public life are hinted at by the reference to the jostling and demanding throng that follows him, but his spirituality is also evident in the time he takes for prayer, apart from those who tend to crowd around him.

Catholic Doctrine
The Problem of Evil
Even unbelievers would characterize human existence as imperfect. Yet, through the eyes of faith, Catholics perceive the reasons for this imperfect existence, that is, for evil in the world. We acknowledge two distinct kinds of evil. One kind if moral evil; the other is physical evil.

Moral evil is evidenced in original sin and personal sin. Physical evil is evidenced in phenomena such as natural disasters, pain, and physical debilitation due to sickness, physical and mental disabilities, and all sorts of accidents and mishaps that harm us. When we believers plumb the reasons for these two types of evil, we are led to the beginning.

By divine revelation we understand that Adam received original holiness and justice not simply for himself but for all humanity. In similar fashion, by yielding to temptation and turning away from God, Adam’s choice affected human nature. Thus, we are born into a fallen state called “original sin,” a reality contracted by us because we are human, not because we commit it (CCC 404). Unlike original sin, personal sin is something we commit and therefore something for which we are responsible.

Posted in: Sessions B