St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania

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Readings and Reflections for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Isaiah 40:21-31
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Psalm 147: 1-12, 21c
Mark 1:29-39

Dear Friends,

The prophet Isaiah paints a vivid contrast between the Creator of all, who “sits above the circle of the earth” with human princes and rulers.  These rulers may appear powerful in their day, but come to nothing as sure as grass turns to straw.  The prophet wonders at us, that we put such trust in human things (or persons) and disregard the everlasting God who does not grow weak, but really is able to uphold us.

Still at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, we see Jesus as he goes throughout Galilee “proclaiming the message.”  This message is in harmony with the word from the prophet Isaiah, that the everlasting Creator comes to uphold the weak and deliver people from bondage to lesser things.  Jesus does for the people what their human rulers do not even attempt – to cure their illness and cast out the forces that cripple them, for God is near.

Speaking to the Corinthian Church, Paul describes his ministry as one who “proclaims the gospel.”  We see his unity with Jesus in this work, and the mission to “win” or “save” as many people as possible.  Paul won’t let lesser things get in the way of this work of restoring people to the sure foundation of life with God in Christ Jesus.

Comment: Anything or anyone in whom you and I place ultimate trust other than God inevitably creates disease and bondage in our physical, emotional, or spiritual being.  Jesus comes out to proclaim that message and restore people to God’s life.  “Everyone is searching,” but too often we search in the wrong places and put our hope in lesser things.  So I am very thankful for all the ways I am reminded the gospel invitation to trust God. I need to return my heart and mind to that trust daily!

David S. Robinson, Rector

Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Maple Glen, PA 19002