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5th Sunday of Year B – 2024

Looking at life unfolding from day to day, some people would say:
“Daily life is a ‘mixed bag’.”
They think of their experience day after day –
good things and bad things are part of what happens to them.

Joyful events and happy encounters are surely enjoyable.
But problems and difficulties are not.
Struggling with misfortune and coping with accidents, this is painful.
And sickness is part of what we see as painful situations in our lives.

When we are suffering physically or mentally, or both, we feel we are not ourselves.
We long to be healed from the pain and hurt.
We want to be freed from worry, anxiety, and all such negative feelings.

At such times, some of us may envy the people who lived in Jesus’ time.
The text of today’s gospel reading outlines clearly what we would hope for (Mark 1:29-39):

“That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus
all the sick and those possessed by demons. 
The whole town gathered at the door, 
and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. 
He also drove out many demons”

Sickness and possession suddenly taken away – was it not something wonderful?
People suffering and tormented are now free from their misery.
And we think: What about us?

We can no longer reach Jesus in a certain place and ask him to heal whatever affliction we suffer from.
Yet, healing is often provided through the medication available nowadays.
Medical science, the knowledge and expertise of specialists can often cure many diseases.
God can make use of these to heal us.

You say: “Often, yes, but not always”.
It is true.
On this earth, we cannot enjoy permanent health and… immortality.
Our human condition does not allow for everlasting enjoyment of a healthy life.
We must live… waiting for… the ‘other life’ – the eternal one…

One day I read a text from a spiritual writer asking this question:
“What kind of a God do we want to believe in –
a God who can cure our diseases once?
Or, a God who lives with us through all that we have to suffer from?”

I ask myself this question from time to time?…


Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French, at:


Source: Images: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints




12th Sunday of Year B – 2021

Some people enjoy making lists – lists of all kinds of things.
Names of places they have visited, names of stars of cinema or sports heroes,
names of best deals for items to buy, names of prospective clients for their business, etc.

I wonder if anyone has ever made a list of… temptations he, or she, has to grapple with!…
This could be an interesting – and possibly quite surprising – ­exercise!

I will not reveal here my own list of things I have to struggle with,
but I will tell you what I find perhaps the worst temptation.
It came back to me as I read the words of the apostles in the gospel of this Sunday (Mk.4:35-41).

The scene is well known to us: the apostles are caught up in a storm on the lake at nighttime.
The wind is terribly strong, the waves threatening, and the men can no longer cope with the situation.
As for Jesus, he is quietly sleeping through it all!

The gospel text says:
 “The disciples woke him and said to him,
“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
The temptation I spoke of is NOT that of fear, of weakness, or helplessness –
NO, these are only expressions of our being human.
The temptation – insidious, vicious, really – is to think that God does not care!
How many of us have not given in to this temptation at one time or another?
To think that God is too far, too great, too occupied with other people’s problems,
to be concerned with our own troubles!
To think that the nitty gritty of our daily lives is too insignificant for God to be bothered with it.
Would he lower himself to care for that?…
This is precisely what he has done in becoming one of us!
Food and drink, sickness and sin, and whatever comes with these situations –
this is precisely what he has been caring about… and continues to do so.

And we, “who have no faith”, are still tempted to ask him the question?!


Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at:


Source: Image: Bijoux to Cara 

International Nurses Day – 12 May

The tireless efforts of nurses all over the world are celebrated every year on May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth in 1820.

Nurses are appreciated in many different ways on International Nurses Day, also called IND. People are encouraged to take time to thank a nurse who has been there for them or their loved ones during days of sickness.

The United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) use IND to focus attention on the important task of recruiting and training nurses worldwide. Estimates show that worldwide, we will be short 18 million health workers by 2030 unless serious action is taken to recruit and train more.

In the UK, there is a ceremony in Westminster Abbey in London on Nurses Day.

In 1953, an official with the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Dorothy Sutherland, asked President Dwight D. Eisenhower to proclaim a Nurses Day. However, the president did not do so at the time.

Since 1965, the International Council of Nurses has celebrated nurses May 12, which was Florence Nightingale’s birthday. She is widely considered the founder of modern nursing. In January 1974, this day was finally officially made International Nurses Day.

During the annual service in Westminster Abbey, nurses pass a symbolic lamp between themselves and onto the High Altar. This signifies the passing of knowledge from one nurse to another. Florence Nightingale was nicknamed the “Lady with the Lamp” by her patients during the Crimean war in the 1850s, and she is often depicted carrying a lamp.

The official symbol for nurses is a serpent entwined around a staff, an ancient Greek symbol associated with healing the sick.

Source: Text: Images:



International Epilepsy Day – 8 February

International Epilepsy Day is marked in order to recognise that epilepsy is an illness and spread the message that people who suffer from it can be successful.

It is estimated that one in every 100 people suffers from epilepsy. Despite it being a recognised neurological disorder, there is still a lot of stigma and discrimination associated with epilepsy.

Epilepsy South Africa’s Gauteng Director, Magdaleen Kruger, says many people succeed in life despite living with the condition.  

“It is not a mental illness. It is not a psychiatric disorder and it is not infectious or contagious. It is a normal illness of the brain characterised by unusual electrical activity in the brain. People who suffer from epilepsy can live a full life if their condition is accepted as an illness.”

Source: Text: SABC Image: International League Against Epilepsy