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Luke 4:38-44

The Word of God

After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them. As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. Demons also came out of many, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah. At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.’ So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.

Luke 4:38-44
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • In this passage we hear about 24 hours in the life of the Saviour of the World. Let us follow in his footsteps. His day begins alone in conversation with his heavenly Father. He then makes his way to join his brothers and sisters for worship in the local synagogue. Next comes a visit to the home of Peter whose mother-in-law is feeling feverish. After curing her, he is happy to remain on for the meal she prepares for himself and other guests.
    • People, hearing of his visit, are bringing their sick from the surrounding neighbourhood in the hope of a cure. All are delighted, Only the demons are disappointed. His very presence is enough to silence them. Shortly he will leave to bring the good news to other places.
    • He is as truly walking through your life now as he was on that day in Capharnaum. Have the confidence to ask him for whatever you need.
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    • After the disappointing reception he had received in his hometown, the tide turns in Capernaum where his preaching, his effortless domination of an unclean spirit (yesterday’s Gospel gospel) and in today’s Gospel, his cure of all sorts of sicknesses, including that of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, strengthened that impression to the extent that the people did not want him to leave but he did so in order to evangelize the other towns.
    • I suggest that you give some time contemplating the gospels of today and yesterday by observing the scene, the characters, see what they were doing, listening what they were saying.* Above all, ask yourself what impact Jesus made on you. Having allowed the scene and its characters to imprint themselves on your imagination, you might do two things 1)write a description of your experience of his preaching, his effortless domination of an unclean spirit (Tuesday’s gospel), and 2) pray that you may know Jesus more fully, follow him more closely and love him more deeply.
    • *Remember that the imaginative contemplation is not principally intended to keep the mind from wandering or to assist the imagination: its true object is to make one present in spirit at the scenes, persons etc.so that they may really act on us and we on them.
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    • “Pope’s mother-in-law healed!” Jesus was not seeking a headline but was reaching out to a woman in need; her response was to return to her ordinary, humble tasks. I pray that I may go about my day noticing the marvels of God’s work, the wonders of creation - in and around me - and grow in quiet gratitude.
    • “All those who had friends suffering… Brought them to him.” Now, in my quiet place, I give thanks to God for those times when my friends have brought my needs before God. I think now of those who suffer and lay them before Jesus. I open myself to his compassion and let his heart shape mine.
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    • Today we are reminded that when Jesus said, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28), it really was his purpose to put himself at the disposal of all who were in need and suffering in any way. Yet when invited to stay among the people who were so kind to him, Jesus reminded them that his main purpose was preaching the love of his Father to as many as possible, and so He had to continue to meet others.
    • Since the Institution of the Eucharist, it means that we can in fact always have Jesus as a travelling companion in our journey through life. It’s wonderful to realise that the Word of God is at our disposal if only we call on him in faith. “I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
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    • We are always impressed by the amount of space given in the Gospels to the healing ministry of Jesus. Today we see him healing a woman in her home, and then continuing to cure all those who were brought to him. The people knew that if you brought a sick person to Jesus he would be healed. Let me bring some people I know need healing to Jesus, asking him to cure them, to free them from the sickness or the evil that inhabit them.
    • Jesus is supremely free, his decisions are not taken according to his ratings but by his sense of mission. I ask for greater freedom in my decisions, big or small.
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    • Pope Francis challenges our tendency to see evangelisation as a dangerous poison rather than a joyful response to God’s love: “At a time when we most need a mission-ary dynamism which will bring salt and light to the world, many lay people fear that they may be asked to undertake some apostolic work and they seek to avoid any responsibility that may take away from their free time. For example, it has become very difficult today to find trained parish catechists willing to persevere in this work for some years.” (Evangelii Gaudium II, 81)
    • And the Pope continues: Something similar is also happening with priests who are obsessed with protecting their free time. This is frequently due to the fact that people feel an overbearing need to guard their personal freedom, as though the task of evangelisation was a dangerous poison rather than a joyful response to God’s love which summons us to mission and makes us fulfilled and productive. (Evangelii Gaudium II, 81)
    • No to selfishness and spiritual sloth!
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    • ‘They asked him about her’ and immediately he healed her. I learn here the importance of interceding for others in their need. But I too am among the sick – I need Jesus to visit me and liberate me, so that I may serve others as Simon’s mother-in-law did.
    • I take some moments to let Jesus visit me where I am now. What do I ask of him? Do I allow him to lay his hands on me, and if I do, how does that feel? Does my encounter with him help me in any way?
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    • It may seem surprising that Jesus turned away the crowds who went looking for him. His point of view was different from what might be expected. He spoke from the still point of his life, from his core relationship with his Father. He had gone to the deserted place so that he might listen for the word of God. Then he could answer the needs around him, even resisting the appeal of the crowds. I need my moments of stillness and reflection to anchor myself and to rediscover my true identity and direction.
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    • Jesus’ ministry of healing and liberation continues. Sickness is part of the human condition. In response to the intercession of others, Peter’s mother-in-law is healed of her fever. Restored to health, she is the first woman who serves him in his public ministry.
    • Health is such a priceless gift, Lord. When I am well may I use this gift it in the service of others. Lord, today I bring to you the many people who are sick in mind, body or spirit. Lay your healing hands upon them and renew their spirits.
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    • The people wanted to stay where they were and to keep Jesus with them. He saw his mission ahead, however, and spoke to them about how he must move on. Jesus doesn't want me to settle where I am but calls me to go with him, bringing good news.
    • Jesus went to a deserted place so that he might find time to be alone with God. Inspired by him I do the same, creating this moment of quiet so that I might meet with God. I make what was a habitual choice of Jesus a choice that I make too.