A reflection for the fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Father John Christman, S.S.S. reflects on the readings for February 7, 2021.
Catholic Voices

Readings (Year B)

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

Reflection: Re-connect with God

I grew up in Wisconsin about 45 minutes south of Green Bay and I am a rabid Green Bay Packers fan. My great grandfather had season tickets to the Packers games. He handed them down to my grandfather, who eventually passed them on to my uncle. So, my entire life I have been enthusiastically watching the Green Bay Packers with family and friends. When gameday comes I have pregame Packers attire, game-time Packers attire, and post-game (hopefully celebratory) Packers attire.

For me, watching the Packers is often a reprieve from all the stresses and anxieties of life. For a couple hours all the troubles of the world temporarily fade from view as I watch the game unfold and root for my team. But it’s actually much more than that. You see, I haven’t lived in Wisconsin for maybe 20 years. And yet, when the game starts, my phone lights up! I start getting texts from family and friends in Wisconsin. In fact, people I’ve met in all the different places I’ve lived and ministered start texting me . . . not simply because they’re Packers fans, but because they take the Packers game as an opportunity to re-connect. It’s really energizing. It’s not so much about winning or losing. It’s about taking the time to re-connect, to stay connected.

One of my favorite lines in the entire Bible can be found in our gospel reading today. It says, “Rising very early before dawn, he (Jesus) left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35).” I love this line because to me it shows how important it was for Jesus to “stay connected.” Theologians and scripture scholars will remind us that while we don’t know the inner life of Jesus, we do know he always had, perhaps even felt, a deep sense of connection to God. However, in this passage, we are shown that Jesus also takes the time to step away and attend to that relationship in a special way.


Jesus attends to his relationships, in fact, he sees the whole of reality relationally. He attends to those who feel the weight and burdens of life like Job in our first reading. He attends to the ill, and those experiencing all manner of infirmities. His days are filled with proclaiming the good news and attending to the marginalized and suffering. But where does Jesus get the energy to do all this?

Good relationships are life-giving. Think of the last time you had a really good conversation or a friend said something kind about you. These moments energize and nurture us. They not only help us feel a real connection, but they make us feel like we are on the right track. After Jesus’ time of prayer, he seems energized and focused. He immediately sets out with his disciples to continue his mission. Has this time of attending to his relationship with God nourished him? I think so. In fact, I think Jesus is encouraging us today to build and nurture good relationships with God and with each other. To connect, re-connect, and be lifegiving in our relationships.

Receive our weekly liturgical reflections in your inbox! Click the button below to sign up.


About the author

John Christman, S.S.S.

John Christman, S.S.S. is editor of Emmanuel, a magazine of eucharistic spirituality, and often writes on the subject of art and theology.

Add comment