Wednesday, January 13, 2021


Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

(Hebrews 2:14-18: Mark 1:29-39))

In the 1940’s and 1950’s several priests in France set out early in the morning to work in factories.  Seeing that many laborers had stopped coming to church, these “worker-priests” decided to bring the gospel to them.  It became a contentious experiment, however.  Worker-priests supported union organizing which was opposed by managers, who did go to church.  Eventually, the worker-priests were told by the hierarchy to leave their jobs.

The worker-priest movement might have found its inspiration in today’s first reading.  As Jesus Christ experienced the human condition, worker-priests worked side-by-side with laborers.  The reading is quite explicit.  Jesus was tried by suffering so that he might help others who suffer.  No doubt, worker-priests suffered as well.  They went to work before dawn when they might have slept until the hour of daily mass.  They also had to face rejection for their attempt to preach the gospel.

Suffering is part of every human life, but especially the Christian life.  Jesus tells his disciples to take up their cross and follow him.  He means that we are not to shun but to embrace suffering as a way of serving him.  When we are sick, we can bear with the discomfort as an offering to God for others’ sake.  When we are well but find it distasteful to visit the sick, we should not shirk that service.