Saint Peter's house in Capernaum, the site of today's Gospel passage.
Today our scripture begins with the Lamentations of Job. Job was a faithful servant of YHWH but lost everything: his family, his fortune and lastly his health for no apparent reason. We must not forget that the children of Israel believed that misfortune was a curse and punishment from God. Here Job wonders why he has found this undeserved fate.
Saint Paul remarks to the Corinthians, the wealthy Church in Asia-Minor, that he has given all to God and expects nothing in return. This is said in contrast to Job. Paul empties himself like Christ so he may be all things to all people which will, through God’s grace, save some of them. He does this because this is his calling. Remember that Paul once persecuted Christians until he encountered Christ on the road to Damascus. He knows true discipleship comes with no strings attached.
In the Gospel, Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law. Here our Lord travels with his first companions (who we heard about two weeks ago when he called them from their labor as fisherman) to labor in the vineyard of the Lord. Peter’s mother in law is completely healed and restored to health which is depicted by her eagerness to be a good hostess.
Later we see Jesus healing all who came to him, literally the entire town. Once again we see in Mark that the demons are not permitted to speak by Jesus. Even they are obedient to God despite their lowliness. This is called the Messianic Secret in Mark; it’s purpose is to allow the Son of God to be gradually revealed to the disciples. This is so they may embrace him fully and not be shocked or misled as they have been by false prophets offering instant gratification. How many times we too are lured into the shallowness of instant gratification in this consumerist society in which we live.
Finally Our Lord, goes to pray alone. In the silence of the pre-dawn morning he communes with His Father in heaven. There he learns that he should continue to spread the good news, now beyond Capernaum to all of the Galilee region. This is His mission so that all may learn the good news of salvation, never resting his laurels or building himself an earthly abode. Instead he moves onward and eventually upward to his only abode in heaven. But first much work is to be done and ultimately he will give his life as the perfect sacrifice, an oblation made for the many who will come to recognize His messiahship.
Today as we ponder these sacred readings, we can reflect:
- That we too, like Jesus need to devote time to prayer to learn the Father's will for us.
- That God does not direct suffering to us as Job eventually finds out.
- That Jesus came for all to be saved. St. Paul understood this and we should too.
What do we need to let go of so that we may fully receive Christ in our lives? What can we do to prepare to greet him as our companion every day of our lives? Prayer, penance and devotion?