WelCom February 2024
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Mark 1:29-39
29 On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
30 Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her.
31 He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she began to wait on them.
32 That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill and those who were possessed by demons. 33 The whole town came crowding at the door. 34 He cured many who were sick with various diseases; he also drove out many demons, but he would not allow them to speak because they knew who he was.
35 Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and those who were with him set out in search of him. 37 When they found him, they said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’
38 He answered, ‘Let us go on to the nearby villages so that I may proclaim the message there too. For this purpose have I come.’
39 And he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.
Where is Jesus?
Dr Elizabeth Julian rsm
Recently, I attended a party for a woman celebrating her 100th birthday. Sr Juliana’s 80 years of music ministry as a disciple of Jesus has been sustained by her prayer life. Today she is most often found in the chapel deep in contemplation.
At the end of today’s gospel we find Jesus at prayer communing with his father. It was this relationship that enabled him to usher in the reign of God through preaching, healing and driving out demons.
Jesus’ public ministry in Capernaum, the little fishing village on the edge of the Lake of Galilee, begins in the synagogue (suggesting it is the Sabbath) and continues in the local area. He enters Peter’s house and heals (the same verb is often used in the resurrection accounts because in the ancient world sick people were believed to be gripped by the powers of death) his mother-in-law. She immediately begins ministering to/serving others.
Remember that Jesus says repeatedly that he has come ‘not to be served but to serve’. This woman then is the first person in this gospel to act like Jesus. Crowds gather at the door as people bring their sick and possessed to Jesus. (Because the sun has gone down they are not guilty of carrying burdens on the Sabbath.) Jesus becomes the Good News he is preaching. Everyone he touches is healed and restored to wholeness.
Then we are told that everyone is looking for Jesus. Where is he? In a lonely place communing with his father prior to embarking on another round of preaching, healing and driving out demons. It was by the power of God that Jesus addressed the needs of his day.
As disciples of Jesus that is our task today. We can bring healing in many different ways – through a smile, a greeting, a word of encouragement, a touch, a phone call, an offer to help. We too, can be the Good News for others. But of course, before any of this we have to do what Jesus did and Sr Juliana does with such fidelity, that is, find a quiet place and deepen our relationship with God.
…find a quiet place and deepen our relationship with God.