Wednesday of Week 1 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

Commentary on Mark 1:29-39

We continue following a day in the public life of Jesus. It was still the Sabbath and, after the synagogue service, Jesus now goes to the house of his two disciples, Simon and Andrew in Capernaum. Remember that, as it was the Sabbath, people could not go very far or do anything which could be labelled ‘work’.

In the house, Jesus finds Peter’s mother-in-law confined to bed because of a fever. When he is told about it, he immediately goes to see her, takes her by the hand, lifts her up and heals her. Immediately, she gets up and begins to serve them. This is not simply because that is the role of a woman in the home. Rather, it is a way of saying that it is the role of any Christian – man or woman – to serve. Healing is not just to make one well, but to enable one to become again an active, serving member of the community.

In the evening, once the Sabbath was over, people were free to move around. So large numbers come seeking out Jesus to be healed of their sicknesses and to be freed from the power of evil spirits:

That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed by demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door.

That is, the door of the house where Jesus was. Many times we will see a reference to the “house” where Jesus is. It seems to be a symbol of the place where Jesus is gathered with those who are close to him, a symbol of a Christian community, of the church. When the poor, and the sick, and ‘un-free’ no longer come to the doors of our community seeking healing and wholeness, we need to reflect on the quality of our Christian witness.

The following morning, Jesus leaves, goes to the hills to be alone and to pray. His disciples find him and say:

Everyone is searching for you.

Although there are many demands being made on him by the people of Capernaum, Jesus:

  • needs time for himself to renew his spiritual energy and be in contact with his Father, and
  • has to think of the needs of other people as well.
  • Jesus may have been the Son of God, but in his humanity could only be in one place at a time. And during those three years of public life, he really only reached a very small number of people. To reach the rest, he needed, and still needs our help.

    When Jesus returns from his prayer, he does not go back to Capernaum, although there were certainly more people to be healed and helped there. Instead he went on to synagogues all over Galilee, proclaiming his message of the Kingdom, and making it a reality by healing the sick and liberating those controlled by evil forces.

    This scene brings up the importance for us of availability. We do need to be available to all those who are in genuine need. At the same time, there is what we might call the ‘poverty of availability’. No matter how generous and self-giving we are, we can only give so much. We need to find a balance between people’s needs and our limited resources. We do not help people by working ourselves to the point of ‘burnout’. We also need ‘quality time’ to be with God, to pray, and to reflect on our priorities. Jesus gives us an excellent example here.

    Comments Off on Wednesday of Week 1 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

    Printed from LivingSpace - part of Sacred Space
    Copyright © 2024 Sacred Space :: :: All rights reserved.