Risen People Called to Serve
Author: Father Barry O’Toole, LC | Source: Catholic.net
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon's mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them. At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, "You are the Son of God." But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ. At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, "To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent." And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for coming into my house. I am honored that you wish to stop by even when I don’t call for you. I am extremely grateful for the personal attention that you give me, especially when I am ill and in need of your grace.
Petition: Lord, cure me of my spiritual ailments so I may serve you in others.
1. Christ Raises Us Up: There is a certain matter-of-factness about the cure in this Gospel passage: no special words of Jesus, no words of thanks, no reaction of the people. It is as if Jesus simply and routinely entered a home and helped a very sick woman up and out of bed. Not your typical miracle that draws a lot of attention. While we hope for that long-awaited miracle in our lives, we might be overlooking one of these very ordinary cures that Christ often offers us. In the spiritual realm, it may be a good confession, receiving him in the Eucharist, spiritual guidance, or a regular examination of conscience. In the physical realm, it may be just taking good care of my health by eating or sleeping properly. We don’t need to demand a special cure. Rather we must be encouraged that Christ has directed his gaze towards us.
2. He Helps Us to Our Feet: Notice how quickly everything happens in today’s Gospel. Christ helps Simon’s mother-in-law to her feet immediately. She cooperates without skepticism or words of protest. She believes in Christ. His grace is effective. The cure is complete and instantaneous. He allows us to stand up on our own and resume our duties.
3. He Cures Us So That We Might Serve: We are very good about pleading to Christ for cures, yet frequently hassled when he sends us the “bill” — namely that of serving others. Simon’s mother-in-law immediately begins to serve Christ, who has put her back on her feet. She immediately forgets about herself –– her problems, how she feels, how much time her sickness has set her back –– and instead focuses on the needs of others. Jesus raises up Christians from the death of sin and calls upon them to serve. Christians are risen people whose vocation is to serve.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, everybody is looking for you. You have put me back on my feet and have asked me to imitate your life of service. Help me to be generous with the life you have restored in me so that I, too, might put the interests of your Kingdom above my personal plans.
Resolution: I will earnestly ask Christ to cure me of my most dominant defect, taking one concrete step in acquiring its opposing virtue.