On this fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, there are two points which are striking in today’s Gospel from St. Mark.
First, there is Jesus “visit to the house of Simon and Andrew”. Upon arriving, he is informed that Simon’s Mother-in-Law is ill and in bed. Jesus comes to her, takes her by the hand, helps her up, and immediately she is cured of her sickness.
This, perhaps, is not the most intriguing part of the encounter. After all, Jesus cured many people and even raised others from the dead. Rather, what is striking here is the reaction of Simon’s Mother-in-Law after her encounter with Christ. The very next verse states that “She immediately began to wait on them.”
The next point follows Jesus after a long day of being with the whole town, going out early in the morning to pray. Again, this is not unusual. Jesus often took time for prayer. The interesting point this time is that, after seeking him out and finding him, they Apostles tell him “everyone is looking for you.”
These two points are striking because they allow the gospel to relate directly to us today.
Like Peter’s Mother-in-Law, we too, have encountered Jesus. We entered the life of grace and became his brothers and sisters in Baptism. We are joined to him in his body the church and spiritually in prayer. Most importantly, we receive him in Holy Communion.
But, like her, have our lives been transformed by this encounter? Have we been inspired to serve God and neighbor as a result? How much of our life of faith can be consciously associated with this encounter and the presence of the Lord in it? Are we simply “who we are” because this is the way we have developed over time or can we identify the presence of Christ as molding us into the disciple we are this day?
Secondly, like “everybody” in the gospel today, when is the last time we can say that we went “looking” for Jesus? When is the last time we realized that only he has the answers which we truly seek? …When we turned to him – not in desperation – but in conversation over the state of our life? When is the last time we facilitated this by taking, not a day off or a vacation, but a day of recollection or retreat?
The Gospel comes alive for us today when we put ourselves into the milieu of these two questions and answer them from the perspective of our lives.
Let us pray that we, too, may live a life of faithful service because of our encounters with Christ and may we always be counted among the “everybody” who seeks him as the center of our life.
Fr. Eric Orzech