Jesus brings healing to the world
Gospel : Mark 1:29-39
- The stories of Jesus’ miracles are a sign that the power of Satan is broken and the kingdom of God has arrived.
- Jesus is the one who brings the kingdom of God to earth.
- In today’s Gospel the miracles are signs of the ultimate healing that Jesus will bring to the world.
CATHOLIC Bible Study
Jesus the healer of the suffering
by Michal Hunt (Agape Bible Study)
Jesus’ message in the Gospel Reading is as relevant to us today as it was to the Jews of the 1st century AD. Repent, believe in the Gospel (Jesus’ good news of salvation), and offer yourself to Jesus for spiritual healing. Then, commit yourself to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and serve Him as Your Lord and Savior. God the Son came into the world to free humanity from slavery to sin and death. Our suffering becomes God the Son’s suffering when we unite ourselves to Him and the pain He submitted Himself to in His human body. Jesus took upon Himself both the emotional pain of His people’s betrayal and the physical pain He suffered in His Passion. Jesus suffered for the sake of the redemption of humanity, and He promises that our sufferings, as a result of sin in the world, will have value (Rom 8:17; CCC 1460). Jesus rescued us from sin and death, and He will take the faithful who have joined their suffering to His into Heaven where they will experience only love and eternal beatitude in the presence of the Most Holy Trinity.
Jesus made Capernaum and Simon-Peter’s house His ministry headquarters. St. Mark uses his favorite word, “euthus,” three times within three verses. It is an adverb that means “immediately,” “at once,” or “now” and expresses Mark’s call for his readers to respond to Jesus’ Gospel message immediately. Mark uses the adverb 47 times in his 675 verses. Also, notice that Jesus’ acts of mercy were not limited to public miracles. In this touching little story about healing Simon-Peter’s mother-in-law, there is a message for all who profess to be Jesus’ disciples. Peter’s mother-in-law set an example for us in expressing her gratitude when she immediately rose from her sick-bed and “waited on” Jesus and His disciples. Like Peter’s mother-in-law, our lesson is that our actions should demonstrate our love for the Lord and our gratitude for His blessings.
We learn in verse 32 that it wasn’t until after sunset that the townspeople brought their sick to Jesus for healing. The narrative began on a Sabbath (Mk 1:21), according to the Law, a day of rest (Ex 20:8-11, 23:12; 31:12-17; 34:21; 35:1-3; Lev 19:3; 23:3; Num 15:32-36; Dt 5:12-15). The Sabbath rest did not inhibit Jesus from healing Simon-Peter’s mother. However, the Pharisees’ strict interpretation of the Sabbath laws did prevent the people from what could be interpreted as “work” on the Sabbath by bringing family members to Jesus for healing. Therefore, the people waited until sundown when it became the next day. Healing on the Sabbath will become an issue of contention between Jesus and the Pharisees.
Jesus healed many people, and He cast out demons that He immediately silenced, refusing to let them reveal His true identity (see Mk 1:23-26). The demon spirits knew Jesus’ true identity and feared Him, recognizing His divine power (verse 34). Demons are spiritual beings who are the fallen angels. God created them to be good; however, through their own free will choice, they became evil by rebelling against God and following Satan, who was himself once an angel (see Rev 12:7-9 and CCC 391-95). The testimony of demons is not the kind of witness Jesus wants to His true identity. His identity as the divine Messiah must be revealed slowly through His miracles and His teaching.
In verse 35, we read that Jesus rose before dawn and withdrew alone to pray. Jesus’ action raises the question: if Jesus felt it was necessary to devote time to private prayer, shouldn’t we do the same? All four Gospels record that several times Jesus withdrew from His disciples for personal prayer. However, the crowds of people continued looking for Him. Sympathetic to the people’s needs, Simon-Peter went to find Jesus (verses 36-37). In verse 38, Jesus agrees to return and gives the reason for His mission. He came to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to the children of Israel. It is the same fulfillment statement St. Mark made in 1:14-15, After John had been arrested, Jesus came to the Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God saying: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel.”
Jesus’ message is as relevant to us today as it was to the Jews in the 1st-century AD. Repent, believe in the Gospel (good news) of Jesus’ gift of eternal salvation, and offer yourself to Jesus for spiritual healing. Then, commit yourself to Christ and let Him raise you to a new spiritual life. The Greek verb for the “raising” of Peter’s mother-in-law is the same verb Jesus used when He commanded Jairus’ daughter to “arise” and return to life (Mk 5:41-42), and it will appear again to describe Jesus’ Resurrection (Mk 14:28; 16:7). Jesus’ promises He will “raise up” to new life all those who believe in Him and come to Him in the waters of Christian Baptism and receive Him in the Eucharist (see Jn 6:40, 44, 54; 1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14; baptism commanded as necessary for salvation in Mk 16:16). And for our part, in gratitude, we should respond in serving the Lord like Simon-Peter’s mother-in-law and like St. Paul who, despite personal hardships, committed his life to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and suffered martyred for his faith.
Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
“My days are like the wind”
Points to consider
- Today is one of only two times in which we hear the book of Job in the mass. And what do we overhear but a tiny part of a great ancient debate about the meaning of human life.
- Job spoke: I am not permitted the luxury of background, so I must speak the name Job clearly and forcefully. My listeners may then remember all his misfortunes, and follow along with me as we are thrust into the heart of the lament: Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? As with all rhetorical questions, I will state these opening questions as facts. And they are more than facts; Job has lived them to the full.
- Usually the first reading points toward the Gospel passage where the church will find its fulfillment in the words and actions of Jesus. This time, besides the tie-in with Jesus, I am reminded starkly of the lot of parents and children in our own day who live those unrelenting words: without hope. Who will speak for them? How can I, myself affluent, repeat their complaint to an assembly of mostly affluent Christians who either are wrapped in their own hardships and turn away from the suffering of others, or perhaps pile on those other people further hardship? If Malala Yousafzai were here today she would know a way.
- The words of Job sound to me like an eloquent speaker composing as he goes. He starts with a general statement: Are not his days those of hirelings? Then he muses on slaves and hirelings – a far cry from the laborers in the vineyard!
- Job compares his fate with that of people in general. So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights. He cannot even look forward to a restful sleep. The night drags on – I will emphasize all four words to bring out that reality. But life itself passes rapidly, swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and at this point my voice can take on a whirring high pitch.
- The reading ends on a firm conviction. My days are like the wind. I shall not see happiness again. Job is challenging listeners to prove him wrong. I could respond with the verses of Psalm 39: “like a breath, and who will remember?”
- Central point: Job addresses an experience that is obvious to all who want to see it. Each verse that follows reinforces his position.
- Message for our assembly: The cries of Job have not lost their force after so many centuries. Do Christians care any more? Can our assembly be content praying that the poor of this world will be fed and clothed? The letter of James also judges harshly such one-dimensional Christianity.
- I will challenge myself: To pray that I may have the voice to embody the misery of those our societies are marginalizing. If I hum to myself the spiritual ‘I been ‘buked and I been scorned,’ that may help.
SOURCE: Paul J. Schlachter at LectorWorks.org