Gospel Reflection Feb 7 – Deacon Don

Sunday, February 7

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 1: 29 – 39


On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn, he left
and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues,
preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

Gospel Reflection:

This Gospel is a continuation of last week’s Gospel, where Jesus was teaching with authority and then heals a man possessed with an unclean spirit in the synagogue in Capernaum. Here, Jesus leaves the synagogue and enters the house of Simon (Peter) and Andrew. Jesus finds Peter’s mother-in-law ill with fever and heals her. To reflect for a moment, these are real places you can see today, when visiting Capernaum. The synagogue ruins still exist. You can walk on its stone floor and visualize how the structure looked back in Jesus’ time. The house mentioned in today’s Gospel is about 200 feet away from the synagogue. When walking this space today, you can easily imagine Jesus’ actions in today’s Gospel and walk in his footsteps, which is what he wants us to do.

Jesus created quite a stir with the healing of the man possessed with an unclean spirit. The people wanted more; however, it was the sabbath and the rules of the day suggested no unnecessary work until sunset — the traditional end of the sabbath. Then, the people come out to seek Jesus knowing he was staying at Peter’s house. Jesus heals many that evening.

One interesting thing to note is in both Gospels, last week’s and this week’s, the demons were silenced by Jesus because they knew him. We are left as to why silence them? Throughout Mark’s Gospel, Jesus continuously confronts demons. In many cases, they recognize who Jesus is and Jesus silences them. Theologians have labeled this behavior as the Messianic Secret. Mark’s Gospel presents Jesus as someone who acts, heals, and prays. We are to take his lead in our own experience and in our lives.
We are asked to act — even Peter’s mother-in-law immediately begins to serve, once healed. This is not a sign of servitude, but part of our nature of service to others. It is through our actions that we show others who we really are.

We are asked to heal — perhaps our healings are not in the dramatic sense as miracles, but with our actions and words to be used to heal others. We can become sources of healing for others.

We are asked to pray — Jesus himself prays. Can we do less? Prayer is the source of replenishment to be able to face what’s next. Another day in the life of Jesus can translate to another day in our lives. Prayer is the food to meet tomorrow’s challenges and needs to act and heal.

Jesus demands the demons remain silent — and never trust the demons that claim to speak on Jesus’ behalf. The demons in our lives will speak to us and distort the act, heal, and pray mission in our lives.

-Deacon Don Poirier