FIFTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
Dear Brothers, the Gospel today (Mark) mentions Simon’s
mother-in-law. Honestly, for many years I thought Mark had
mentioned her just to acknowledge the fact that Simon was married.
I was greatly mistaken! But mistaken also, is the English
translation of her illness – as a “fever”! In the original Greek, the
word used to describe her condition means – “a drastic state, close
to death”. The seriousness of the illness was manifested by Simon
and those present in his home; there was an urgency for Jesus to do
something for her. Earlier that same day, Jesus had exorcized a
demon. This time, this ‘nameless’ woman was touched by Jesus
and he ‘lifted her up”; immediately, she began to lovingly serve
those present. We can see ourselves in this intentionally
The first reading (Job) displays a very pessimistic view of
the human condition. But that was the condition of human nature,
for they had no clear idea, at that time, of a life hereafter – until the
full revelation of it came through Christ. There’s no reason to
believe that it was any different for Simon and the other first
disciples of Jesus. We needed a healing and that is what Mark is
trying to depict in his version of the ‘healing’ of Simon’s mother-
in-law. (Mark has shown elsewhere – that he had little regard for
Today’s 2nd reading ( l Cor) is about a man , who, blinded
by his unholy zeal for the Law, was persecuting him who was the
fulfillment of that Law – and all the prophets. Jesus raised him up
too, to build up the Church, the Body of Christ – as the Apostle to
the Gentiles. Paul later referred to his calling – as ” an obligation
that had been imposed upon him” – to’ become all things to all’.
Once up and about, his entire life became one of love and service –
of, and for – the Lord and his Church.
We too, like Simon’s mother-in-law and Saul, have
experienced an unexpected and undeserved healing! May we
continue to treasure it – and share it with others, for today,
throughout the world, wearing more than one mask, are a great
many in need of healing.
Yes, Jesus went other places. He came to raise us up too, –
to heal and call us – to preach the Good News – and to drive out
demons, for they are many. Amen.
Job 7: 1-4, 6-7, I Cor 9: 16-19, 22-23, Mk 1: 29-39 Fr Alan