“Go to Jesus and he will cure you” 5th Sunday Reflection
In reflecting on this Sunday’s gospel, we find Jesus in full mission mode in Capernaum in north Galliee. He says to his disciples, ‘Let us go into the neighbouring town and cities, that I may preach there also; for this purpose am I come.” He is a man with a mission, but not just a man. We see him as a divine person, working wonders, with the mission of telling the world about his Father and about his Father’s love for each human being, namely that each one of us is not alone, that each of us is part of God’s family, that we belong to God now and forever. This is his business. The mercy shown in his actions and words are what nowadays are called a ‘mission statement’
and Jesus states his mission statement loudly and clearly.
St Mark’s gospel passage is very interesting under a number of headings. It is a series of a dozen or so factual statements, each worthy of its own explanation, reflection or commentary. Young St Mark is anxiously hurrying to report everything. He describes or explains little or nothing. It is very much the report of a young man in a hurry. He places more emphasis on listing the facts, than on giving the details. For example, no mention is made of the name of either St Peter’s wife’s nor that of his mother-in-law.
The disciples and apostles come out of the synagogue in Capernaum and go with Jesus into Peter’s nearby house. No advance warning is given to Peter’s poor nameless mother-in-law that guests were about to arrive. She was lying down, sick with a fever. No one asks Jesus to do anything. He is just told of the situation, takes her hand, and cures her. Here, Jesus breaks with the Jewish tradition of the times regarding the sick. You did not touch a sick person as it made you unclean, and cleanliness was a priority in Jewish society. Jesus simply does things differently. With greater mercy.
Strangely enough, there is no indication of any thanks being given to Jesus. Peter’s mother-in-law simply gets up and starts preparing food for her uninvited guests.
This gospel passage is written very much in a middle-eastern Semitic style, where exaggeration for the purposes of effect is part and parcel of the story.
We hear that “All the town was crowding around at the door” of Peter’s house and “Everyone is looking for you”.
No recorded words are spoken here by Jesus. He gets on with what he sees as his day job, and simply cures both the physically and mentally sick who come to him at Peter’s house. The implied idea in the gospel is ‘go to Jesus and he will cure you’.
The short message is that by the power of grace, we pray that God be present in our lives, and when so, our lot and our lives improve.