He Cured Many Who Were Sick by Rev. Jack Peterson
Reprinted with permission of "The Arlington Catholic Herald"
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Mark wrote to explain Christ
to the new Gentile converts.
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.
We can learn much about the Christian life from this week’s Gospel, which offers a glimpse of a day in the public life of Christ. Three important lessons can be gleaned from this short description of a 20-hour period in Jesus’ life.
Jesus always demonstrates prudence and wisdom in His ministry. No one could doubt the importance of extending His healing touch to Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. Jesus would soon demand very serious sacrifices of Peter as the head of the Apostles. Given that all of the necessary factors were present to bring about the healing, like faith, desire and the will of the Father, it was very prudent for Jesus to offer such a sign of love and support to Peter and his wife by healing her mother who lay sick with a fever.
Do I spend time thinking critically about how I can better support those in my care? Do I spend my energies reflecting on how to build up those who support me with their prayers, hard work and love? Do I ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in creating an atmosphere around me where those closest to me know my care and appreciation for their presence in my life?
Second, Jesus reveals His heart about His mission. In Peter’s hometown, the word is spreading rapidly about Our Lord. The people are flocking to Him to hear Him speak with authority, to be recipients of His amazing love and to be healed of their many ailments. “The whole town was gathered at his door.”
Yet, after some time in prayer in the morning, Jesus makes the decision to move on to other towns. He may have been tempted to sit around and enjoy all of the attention, to bask in the light of the crowd’s admiration. Instead, Our Lord tells Peter, “Let us go on to nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.”
Jesus has a burning desire to share the Good News of the Kingdom with more and more people. The gift of His truth, His love and His mercy needs to spread to the whole world. Do I share in Christ’s sense of urgency? As a Christian, do I have a burning desire that others hear the message of Christ and come to know Him personally as their Creator, Redeemer and Friend? Do I recognize that I, as a baptized Christian, share in Christ’s mission to bring His light into every corner of our world?
Third, Jesus spends quite a bit of time extending His healing touch to individuals throughout this short passage. He comes as the Divine Physician to heal a sick and broken world of sin as well as all kinds of physical and emotional ailments. The Gospels paint a clear picture of the healing dimension of Christ’s public ministry.
Am I convinced that Jesus wants that healing work to continue in our day? Do I turn to Christ for the most important healing of all, the forgiveness of my sins, which is given so freely and generously in the sacrament of penance? Do I bring others to Christ and encourage them to treasure this healing? Do I realize that God wants to use me as an instrument of His healing in this world?
So much of this world’s ills are the result of sins against charity. Neglect of spouses and children, anger, sexual abuse, greed and numerous other grievous sins create the deepest wounds in our society. Christ wants to extend His healing touch to people in homes, schools and places of work, in part, through our care and concern for those that He places in our lives. I have been greatly encouraged by the variety and depth of healing that God has brought about in the lives of young people at Marymount from these same kinds of wounds through the gifts of the sacrament, strong Christian community and solid Christian counseling.
May the glimpse that we are given into a day in the life of Our Lord encourage us to be true disciples of Christ. May we be wise in our efforts to encourage those who support us, zealous for the spread of the Gospel to every corner of world and keenly aware that Christ’s healing ministry is as important today as ever, and that I have a critical role to play in that ministry.
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