(1818 – 1854)
“Christ healing the Mother of Simon Peter's Wife”
Birmingham Museum of Art
This painting shows the influence of the Nazarenes, a group of pious German and Austrian painters active near Rome during the stay of John Bridges there. The Nazarenes had a fascination with Renaissance Art of the Fifteenth and early Sixteenth Centuries. They painted primarily religious subjects filled with classic motifs. Bridges’ clear and orderly composition, populated by monumental figures, harkens back to works of the High Renaissance.
One of Christ’s miracles, recorded in Mark 1:30-31, is depicted here: Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her that moment and she began to wait on them.
Mark 1: 29-39
29 “On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. 31 He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.
32 That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. 33 The whole town came crowding round the door, 34 and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.
35 In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. 36 Simon and his companions set out in search of him, 37 and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you’. 38 He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came’. 39 And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.”
The Word of God is part of and parcel of our daily lives. It is relevant and gives meaning to all our many activities.
We often think about the most difficult situations in the world: the mystery of pain and suffering.
“Why does God allow injustice and war, and as a result so much suffering for innocent children, women and the elderly?” “Where is God? Why his is silent?
In present times, we keep asking ourselves: When will this Pandemic be over?
The Gospel today puts us before a God who does not merely speculate over evil but rather a God that is present in the midst of evil in the person of Christ. He is a God that in Jesus experiences pain and death. Jesus is close by, cares and is companionate. For these reasons people were looking for Jesus. Are we searching for Him?
Jesus is still on the shore of the Lake of Galilee. Today´s Gospel is a continuation of last Sunday’s liturgy. We find a beautiful description of a day in the life of Jesus. He was preaching the Good News and healing all those suffering from various diseases and who had been brought to him. At the same time, He was in touch with his heavenly Father.
Leaving the Synagogue
In the Synagogue Jesus had acted in the most amazing way, the whole method and way of his teaching was a new revelation for his fellow countrymen and women. If his words had impressed the people in the Synagogue, his deeds left them thunderstruck. He spoke sternly to the evil spirit: “Be silent” He said, “and come out of him …”. They were all astonished … .
Entering the house of his friend and Disciple Peter
Immediately after entering the house they told him about Peter’s mother-in-law who is in bed with a fever. Jesus did not require an audience in order to display his power; He was just as prepared in the little circle of Peter’s family as in the crowded Synagogue. Jesus was never too tired to assist. The needs of others took precedence over his need of rest. No sooner was Peter’s mother-in-law healed that she began to attend to them. She used her recovered health for service.
Now He heals all who came to the door of Peter’s house
Jesus was ready to use his power wherever there was a difficulty or need. He selected neither the place nor the person as He was aware of every human need. In the evening the crowds are seeking Jesus’ healing touch. They came late because the Law didn’t allow them to come earlier. The Sabbath only ended at 6pm. So they arrived carrying their sick to Jesus … and he cured them all.
Early in the morning he went to a deserted place to pray
We note that Jesus was left with little time to be alone. He knew well that He could not survive without being in touch with God his Father. If He is forever available for others, He must constantly summon up spiritual strength from the Father. He knew that He could not live without prayer.
Let us go to the nearby villages, so I can preach there also
When the Disciples and other people find Jesus, He rose to meet the challenge of the proclamation of the Good News, in his tour de force around Galilee: preaching, teaching and healing.
Jesus never separated the following:
1) Words and actions. Always the statement and the exhortation were put into
2) Body and soul. The task of Christianity is to redeem the whole person and
not just a part. The Christian message is one, and it preaches and works for the
good of the body as well as for the good of the soul.
3) Heaven and earth. There are those who are so concerned with heaven that
they forget all about the earth. The dream of Jesus was for a time when God’s
will would be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6;10), and earth and
heaven will be one.
Jesus, the ‘Good News’, faces the miseries of life. Jesus is coming from the Father with a message of solidarity for the peoples of his time.
In addition, an in-depth reading of the Gospel shows us Jesus evangelizing through the least, the lost and the last of his society: the sick, the poor and marginalized. Jesus gets close to them, and through them the Good News of the Father arrives to us.
We thank God for all the lay people and consecrated wo/men ready to contribute to alleviate suffering in these hard times due to the prevailing Pandemic, war and immigration.
Psalm 91 – God is My Refuge
“The one who lives in the shelter of the Most High,
who rests in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord,
‘You are my refuge, my fortress, and my God in whom I trust!’
He will surely deliver you from the hunter’s snare
and from the destructive plague.
With his feathers he will cover you;
under his wings you will find safety.
His truth is your shield and armour.
You need not fear terror that stalks in the night,
the arrow that flies in the day,
plague that strikes in the darkness
or calamity that destroys at noon.
“Because he has focused his love on me,
‘I will deliver him’, says the Lord.
‘I will protect him because he knows my name.
When he calls out to me, I will answer him.
I will be with him in his distress.
I will deliver him, and I will honour him.
I will satisfy him with long life;
I will show him my deliverance.’”
Lord, thank you for my health, not something to take for granted, but the means by which I can serve others.
Lord Jesus, you became human for us! You brought joy to a family at Cana. You brought healing and hope to Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, and to the paralyzed and the blind. You gave bread to the hungry. You gave us your life, your body, your spirit, your Mother – everything. Thank you!
Lord, deliver me from seeking your help only in times of difficulty. May I grow in grateful love for the ways you daily raise me up, and call me to the service of my Community.
What is the joy of the Gospel?
Jesus was the incarnation of the Good News. When we see his healings and hear his teaching, we know that the Gospel is present, concrete, tangible:
Are we joyful recipients of the Gospel?
Are we a joyful incarnation of the Gospel?
Are we willing to speak about this joy?
Are we willing to act, moved by gratuitous love and freed from other interests
How do the words and miracles of Jesus cast light upon a world afflicted with the COVID-19 Virus and tired of restrictions?
Many of us suffer from different ailments, what meaning do the healings of
Jesus have for us if we think/know we will never get better again?
Do we feel out of God’s reach/interest?
Can we still believe God saves/heals in a real tangible sense?
When we feel better/healthier, do we adopt an attitude of thanksgiving and
service for others?
We should contemplate the goodness of the Lord, because in such contemplation we inevitably pay closer attention to the little signs of God’s care and do not take things for granted.
God does not want us remain captives of our own sins, our own sicknesses, our own worries and anxieties.