This is a great message of good news for us. We can probably all identify with the man who was in the Synagogue. We try to obey God’s laws, we pray, and we go to church (at least in non-Covid times!) However, that does not necessarily make us perfect. Jesus came to help us see what can be made better in our lives, to free us from any uncleanliness. Then we move out to meet people where they are, because that’s what he did. How comforting is the thought that Jesus does not shy away from my simple and poor abode, or from my infirmities. As soon as Peter’s mother-in-law is healed, she began to serve them. In its simplicity, this is one of the most beautiful images of what being a Christian is all about. We are people who need Jesus in our lives to heal us from our infirmities, from our sinfulness, and from the wounds caused by our mistakes or by those of others. Because in one way or another we are all broken, we all need healing. The result of being touched by Jesus is, then that we automatically start to live to serve others. This is precisely what Jesus was all about. He himself told us, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Word of these two healings – the one in the Synagogue and that of Peter’s mother-in-law – must have spread quickly among the people, because at sunset (when the Sabbath restrictions were lifted) people who needed his healing came from everywhere. And he did not disappoint!
After such a full day, a normal person would go to have a good sleep in the evening, feeling pleased with himself for what he had accomplished during that day. Not Jesus. He got up very early in the morning, “when it was very still dark,” to go to a deserted place and pray. Jesus needed this time with his Father. This has to be the source and strength of the life of any follower of Jesus. I cannot do it on my own. I need God’s help. Time spent with God is not time wasted. Pope Francis gives us a beautiful example in his life by rising up very early every morning for two whole hours of prayer before he begins his day.
The message for us today is twofold. Let us allow Jesus in our lives, giving him ample time, so that we can experience his loving presence and healing touch. Then let us look around us. There we will sure find people whom we can help and serve. Through us his disciples, they can come to experience that same love of Jesus that we received.