Sunday, February 4
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 1: 29 – 39
On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left
and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues,
preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
The entire Gospel of Mark is short and can be read in just one sitting. While short in length, it is not thin in its message. Mark’s Gospel presents Jesus as a man of tireless action in so many of its passages. Jesus is presented with a need and he responds to it – never judging the recipient’s worthiness – just responding to the need. Jesus does not force his healing on anyone. Jesus does expect us to take our healing and pay it forward.
My wife Julie and I visited Capernaum in 1999. We visited the synagogue and walked to what is believed to be the home of Peter’s mother-in-law. While it may seem astounding to think that we can identify the actual locations today made famous in this Gospel passage, there is credible evidence that we can. Whether fact or not, it was awe inspiring to simply be there and imagine this very Gospel taking place beneath our feet some 2,000 years ago. So, if the place is real, why not the actions? One action is the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. It seems almost laughable that Jesus heals her and immediately “…she waited on them.” This may seem like Jesus was self-serving or even cruel, but that would miss the point. We are all meant to serve others. We are living in a world of significant brokenness. The brokenness we experience in our own lives prevents us from serving others. The Jesus of Mark’s Gospel heals our brokenness and with that healing, only then can we serve the Gospels in our service to others.
That message should live in us. Read this Gospel, end-to-end. It is quite a ride with Jesus’ action after action showing us that this is not simply a man doing good things, but God serving our deeply troubled need for healing with every action He takes.
Deacon Don Poirier