Today’s Gospel: Mark 1, 29-39
Jesus’ actions in the Gospels always reveal something to us about the identity of God. In this passage, Jesus sees that Peter’s mother-in-law is ill. He could have healed her by simply saying the word. But instead, he takes her by the hand and helps her up. Jesus does not heal Peter’s mother-in-law from afar; he comes close to her, touches her, and lifts her toward him. Jesus shows us that God comes close to us when we are sick.
The worst sickness that could have befallen us is sin. When we go to God with our sin, he does not step back in disgust. Instead, he draws near to those in need. God comes to us and lifts us from the mire of our sin and invites us to become more like him. He reaches down and pulls us toward his divine life so that we may live holier lives.
In this same passage, Jesus also prays, preaches and drives out demons. Jesus’ presence is an active presence as well as a contemplative one. Before acting, before driving out evil, he spends time with his Father in prayer. Jesus models for us the life of a Christian. In order to give God the space he needs to drive away the evil of sin in our lives, we must give him time away, time in prayer. Prayer is what gives us the energy to cooperate with the grace that God wants to give us to become more holy.
This Gospel passage is an invitation to draw near to the Lord, to give him time in prayer so that he can draw near to us. In prayer, God comes close to us, touches our wounds, heals our sin with his saving grace, and invites us into his divine life.
Do I allow Jesus to come close to me, to touch my heart and help me to move toward him, or do I back away when he walks toward me? Even when I am sick with sin, do I fear the touch of Jesus? Do I fear what his healing touch will mean for my life?
Lord, help me to draw near the Father in prayer so that you may enter into my life to bring healing and drive away evil. Please give me the grace to become more like you.
Copyright 2016 Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble
Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP is a former atheist who has returned to the Church and is now a religious sister. At the end of her life, she hopes to say, “It is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). She is the author of The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church.