Following Christ is never easy. In a way, it may be a little tougher during Ordinary Time. During Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, there are more striking reminders of our faith; even the secular publicity reminds us constantly that we are trying to be on our best behavior in prepare for a special religious event. In between, we can experience something of a lull in our focus. The liveliness of our faith could sag under the weight of the burdens of every-day life. It can be hard to be Christ-like when we are paying off holiday bills, shoveling snow, and maybe wishing we were in Florida.
In this context, today’s readings are comforting and encouraging. The first reading reminds us that Jesus, in order to expiate our sins and be truly merciful, became “like His brothers and sisters [that is, us] in every way… Because He Himself was tested through what He suffered, He is able to help those who are being tested.” Although He probably didn’t have to shovel snow very often in Israel, He did live a mostly ordinary life for thirty years. He had a job, He had to work to support His mother after St Joseph died, and He suffered sorrow, physical pain, and death.
He also was deeply concerned with the lives of those around Him and reacted with compassion to other people’s needs. In the Gospel reading we hear how He healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and when people came with their sick and afflicted after sundown (because it had been the sabbath) He took the time to heal them all, despite having to stay up late at night to do so. And He doesn’t stop there; He wants to go to other towns to preach and heal as well.
So, when we feel the wear and tear of daily life and find it hard to be patient and generous like Christ, let’s remember that Christ became like us, and understands our daily difficulties. He is always there to help us; He “remembers his covenant forever”, so “rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!”