FIFTH SUNDAY          Mark 1: 29-39

Some see a difference between being cured of an illness and being healed. It looks like Simon’s mother in law was not only physically cured of her fever but it looks like she was holistically healed – physically, emotionally and spiritually. This happened very early in Jesus’ ministry. He had four followers, the Zebedee brothers and the brothers Simon Peter and Andrew. The little group resembled the church in embryo and embodied the power of God’s heavenly kingdom on earth. Did this fever-stricken woman lie awake, wracked with anxiety like Job and wondering if the night will never end? Her cure would be the prelude to Jesus’ power over all forms of sickness and possession.

“There’s a striking contrast between the public performance and that which takes place in the house in the presence of those already called to follow. Jesus takes this woman by the hand and raises her up, an anticipated sharing of his resurrection power, to which she responds by ministering to him as the first deaconess of the church. The people outside on the other hand are excited and involved, but there is no indication of understanding or willingness to serve” – Sean Freyne. They were drawn to him not by a religious impulse but out of a desire for healing. The woman rose from her sick bed like a person transformed. She was obviously open to more than physical healing. It’s important that when we ask God to heal us from an illness that we be open to more and be ready to serve.

“Mark is underlining discipleship using the key word to serve. Peter’s mother-in-law becomes a disciple, the first woman disciple. Mark is not simply recording a wonder from the past. He is describing our present path to discipleship. As we make our own the grace of God in our lives, we come to realise the gift is not for ourselves alone” – Kieran O’Mahony. Jesus not only cures us from disease or from whatever lays us low, he also raises us up giving us new life and purpose to reach out in service to others.

Early the next morning Jesus went off to a lonely place to pray. His disciples set out in search of him.  “Everybody is looking for you,” they cried, implying he should come back and satisfy his public. Jesus said his mission is not to be a healer as such but to change the world by completing the work of salvation. The crowds gathered around him the previous evening not because they recognised who he was or his mission, but because they wanted something. They did not come to serve. Only Simon’s mother-in-law recognised what Jesus was about. Jesus came to offer a healing from a disease that’s greater and deeper than physical illness. Mark offered us this story in hopes our eyes would be opened, our blindness removed and we would recognise the shape our lives are meant to take.

Fr. QQ – 01/31/2024





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