Mk 1: 29-39

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Healed from our afflictions

In Matthew’s version of this Gospel story, Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law by touch—his usual way of healing. He possesses a fullness of life that flows into whomever he touches or whoever touches him with faith. In Luke, Jesus rebuked the fever—his usual way of exorcising. He doesn’t touch the afflicted person; he commands the spirit to leave, and it must obey because Jesus has power over it. In Mark, Jesus took the woman by the hand and raised her up.

The Greek word for raise or lift up (ἤγειρε) is used many times in the New Testament to mean raising someone from the dead, as if here sickness is an early encroachment of the power of death into our lives. Jesus has come that we may have life and have it abundantly (Jn 10:10). Whatever our affliction, from physical ailments to our inevitable mortality, Jesus is the healer of all our ills.

—Fr. Peter Fennessy, SJ is a retreat director at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

 

Prayer

Through your most holy passion and death,
I beg of you, Lord, to grant me a most holy life,
and a most complete death to all my vices and passions and self-love
and to grant me sight of your holy faith, hope, and charity.
Amen.

—St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ