Homily for the fifth Sunday of the year - Year B - Mk. 1:29-39


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Immediately Jesus left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.


"That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.


"And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him and said to him, 'Every one is searching for you.' And he said to them, 'Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out.' And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons."





Homily:


"Immediately Jesus left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him of her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them."


Two weeks ago, we witnessed the beginning of Jesus' preaching. At that time, he said: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mk. 1:15) Soon afterward, Jesus went to Nazareth, where he preached in the synagogue (cf. Lk. 4:16). From there, he went to Capernaum. There he also preached in the synagogue (cf. Mk. 1:21 - This is from the gospel we would have read last Sunday if it were not the feast of the Presentation). Today, we see Jesus leaving the synagogue of Capernaum and going to the house of Simon and Andrew.


As we know, Simon Peter was married. Since his mother-in-law is suffering, everyone is anxious to tell Jesus of this as soon as he enters Simon's house. And Jesus immediately answers their desire to see the sick woman healed! What could be more natural? If Jesus has the intention of healing the many people who come to him on their own, although by the grace of the Holy Spirit, how could He who called Simon and Andrew to himself not also do the will of his disciples and of those close to them?


If we accomplish the Will of God in all things, then all of our desires will be pure, and God will answer them! Now, Simon Peter had left everything to follow Jesus; and He knows this. This is why Jesus does not hesitate, and even hurries, to do the will of Simon and of his family. May it be the same for us! May we desire but one thing: to do the Will of God in all things! Then, let us be certain that Divine Providence will do everything to realize all of our desires, even the most crazy, if any of them might be described so...


"That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him."


Jesus "healed many who were sick with various diseases." Jesus is good, as we know. This is why he heals all of those who come to him... Sickness is not something normal. Very often, if we take no medicine, sickness leads to death. And death is also something that is not normal. Death comes from sin, that which Adam, the first man, committed: "Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin." (Rm. 5:12) Death and sickness are a punishment due to sin...


As Pope John Paul II has noted several times, quoting Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, "the glory of God is the living man"! Of course, the best life is the spiritual life, the life of the soul in the grace and love of God. It is this, first and foremost, that is the glory of God: the living man in the state of grace! But God is glorified even more if man truly lives both lives: the spiritual and the corporeal. When man is sick, he is like Jesus suffering his Passion. But when man is healed and in good health, both corporeal and spiritual, then he is like the dead and resurrected Jesus, and he is already in the Glory of God, before the Father, with Jesus!


When we are sick, let us do what we must do to be healed: love of God and of ourselves demands this. When we see that our neighbor is sick, let us take care of him, and let us help him to take care of himself! In a general manner, let us fight for Life! "The glory of God is the living man!" For almost two thousand years, it has been possible for man to be resurrected in the Lord, thanks to the Resurrection of Christ! Ceaselessly, the Lord continues to heal souls and bodies; ceaselessly, through Mary and with Her, Jesus continues to bring health to our sick bodies, as he still does at Lourdes, in France, in order to manifest his goodness, still alive in the Spirit!


"And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him pursued him, and they found him and said to him, 'Every one is searching for you.' And he said to them, 'Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out.' And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons."


The next day, Jesus leaves the house very early, and goes to away to pray in a lonely place. Jesus is God: we believe this, and so we know it, through faith. So we also know that Jesus, who is God, is All-Powerful: Jesus can do anything. Also, Jesus does not need to pray in order to ask something of his Father. Thus, if Jesus prays, he does so to give us his example. Jesus wants us to know what we must do in order to be healed: we must pray!


If we wish to be healed of our sicknesses, of whatever kind, whether they be sicknesses of the soul, like vices and bad habits, or sicknesses of the body, then we must pray! Of course, we must do more than just pray. If we are sick, we must take medicine, or even undergo surgery. But we must - and even above all - pray. For the psychological benefit of prayer is undeniable...


Let us pray to Mary during today's Eucharist! Let us ask her for her help in order that we might indeed receive within us the remedy of remedies: the Body of Christ! May this Great Sacrament heal us forever of all sicknesses, those of the body, those of the soul, and those of the spirit!




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