The beauty of the Christian faith is that the message has remained the same from the first time this was spoken more than 2,000 years ago until today.
The Gospel narrative I chose to discuss for this second half of February 2015 (MK 1:29-39) is so pregnant with meaning that it shows us three characteristics of Jesus that we can look at as learning curves. I believe this is necessary especially at this time when evil deeds seem to dominate the social and political landscape.
Here we see Jesus giving evidence of his being the Messiah when he healed Peter’s mother-in-law whose health was restored, and immediately she moved about to serve Jesus and his disciples. At the setting of the sun as the day of the Sabbath ends, Jesus healed everyone by laying hands on each of those who came with various illnesses.
Not only do we see Jesus demonstrating with conclusive proof his divine power as he healed all forms (vv.33-34) of diseases but it also brought to light His compassion for those who are in need. This should provide us with a clear image of our roles as disciples in terms of how we relate to those who are not as fortunate as we are.
Like Jesus, we are open to helping those in need even if we are inconvenienced especially when the circumstances come at a time when we are on our way to work, to a vacation, to attend a party or to the mall.
At the house of Peter, Jesus demonstrated that is predisposed to serving others. He just came from the synagogue where he also healed many sick people, and He might have been looking forward to taking a badly needed rest at the house of Peter, but he did not have a chance to even take a deep breath because he had to heal Peter’s mother-in-law and countless others who came after the news of his healing power spread like wildfire throughout the region.
This shows us that as disciples we no longer own our time. If we are to follow Jesus we are to deny ourselves (LK 9:23). And we are to deny certain pleasures so we can help others.
I once saw a movie, and one of the dialogue lines struck me. It goes like this: “When you are in love, you lose yourself as the love that you have for one another fills you and that love controls you.”
This is what should happen to us. The love of Jesus for us which is so great that He gave his life to ransom us should control us. This love should move us to help the sick, the beggars on the streets, the homeless, out-of-school youths and the spiritually impoverished.
At His voice and command, Jesus demonstrated the second reality in this Gospel reading as demons came out of people who were at the house of Peter. It was customary in those days to equate certain forms of illness to being possessed by evil spirits. This shows again the compassion of Jesus for he didn’t categorize the class of people who came to him to be healed as He healed them all.
Now we need to ask ourselves what are the demons in our lives. Could these be our vanities, judgments, criticality, prejudices, inclination to corruption, manipulation, arrogance and pride, self-exaltation, wealth? Do our priorities stand in the way of our relationship with God?
As we stand face-to-face with Jesus at the Eucharistic celebration and at our prayer meetings, these demons must come out in order for us to be healed. As Christians, Jesus must replace the demons in our lives. This is the kind of abundant life (Jn 10:10) that He promised us.
At the end of the Gospel, it tells us that Jesus probably just had enough time to rest as he went out at daybreak to pray. We should the same thing because evangelization which is our primary duty as Christians doesn’t start with programs or projects but with prayer.
For many of us, life continues to be a blur because we don’t spend enough time in prayer which is not only our link to God but also brings clarity and purpose to the busyness of our lives and the confusion in our world. Often, we prioritize ministry work ahead of prayer but Jesus shows us that communion with God through prayer must precede everything else.