In today’s gospel, Mark continues to give his sense of the early days of Jesus’ ministry. Short as it is, we see Jesus’ tenderness and deep care for those who are suffering. Simon’s mother-in-law is ill – an omen of death in ancient cultures and even in our world today in many impoverished nations. (I remember as a novice in Belgium, hearing one of our African sisters who was very dear to me, weeping quietly one night. She had received a letter saying her youngest sister – her namesake – was ill. Sister was afraid her little sister would die and unfortunately the next letter bore that sad news.)
Jesus is moved by the woman’s suffering and with tenderness, “he approached, grasped her hand and helped her up.” What a relief this healing must have been for Simon and his wife as well as his mother-in-law.
That evening, after an already busy day, people brought to him all who were ill or overcome by demons. The whole town was there – and Jesus healed. This scene, if we let ourselves “be there”, truly gives us a deep sense of Jesus’ love and desire to heal our ills. Ignatius of Loyola gave the Church a tradition of using our imagination when we encounter a scene like this. Perhaps we could just take the words:
“they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons”
and imagine (actually see) :
who is being brought to Jesus to be touched, healed, loved?
whom do I want to lead to him today?
our Sisters in Texas who are grieving another sudden death?
a loved one? a friend? a stranger I saw on the corner?
is it a refugee who is feeling lost while trying to find herself in a new land?
is it myself?
is it …………….?
Then, after I have accompanied these people to Jesus, perhaps I will have an even deeper understanding of what healing means to a person who is touched by Jesus’ love and to those who rejoice in the gift their loved ones have received.
-Sister Marian Baumler
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur . 241 Lafayette Avenue . Buffalo, New York 14213 . (716) 884-8221