January 15, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Wednesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue
Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John.
Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.
They immediately told him about her.
He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.
Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee.

Reflection (Sem. Alfredo Dimaano, Jr.):

     Jesus’ healing ministry is featured in today’s Gospel. First, he healed the mother-in-law of Simon, followed by the curing of the sick all over town, and even those possessed by demons. In our present world where people seem to be unwell—whether they are sick physically or even spiritually, Jesus wants us to remember that in Him alone should we seek comfort.

     Thankfully, the ability to heal is not something that is confined only to Him, but in His mercy, he bestows such gift also to the people. We have seen priests and other religious who are handling such ministries. Medical doctors qualify also as healers as they try their best to make their patients well as people clamor to be healed from their physical afflictions. But Jesus has proven again that He himself is the Ultimate Divine Healer.

     Even in the ordinariness of each of us, we have a trace of Jesus’ healing ministry whenever we share in carrying our brother’s heavy loads and sympathize with them in their fears and struggles. For despite our own brokenness, we can still be what the great spiritual writer Henri Nouwen calls “wounded healers”. From the Gospel, upon learning of the condition of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, the disciples immediately approached Jesus; then He grasped her hand and began to heal her. In our dark hours, when we are deeply troubled and our minds are pre-occupied with a lot of things, it is through the effort of our friends who pray and intercede for us that help us recover and bounce back from our desperation.

     Moved with pity, Jesus also healed those who approached Him in town and relieved them from their sickness. We have to note that during that time, sickness is synonymous to being a sinner thus, their being healed is not only a sign that they are physically good but spiritually nourished as well. Their being cured can be equated to being welcomed again in the society, providing them new life. When Jesus heals, He makes all things new for us, enabling us to start for better beginnings. It is our faith and hope to Jesus that allows us to approach Him when we are in distress and when our desire to be healed is His will for us, He will grant it so. It just occurred to me that in the vernacular, the word that sounds like healing is “hiling” (to wish or desire).  I think, it is not coincidence that it is so for at times, we simply need to boldly ask and present our heart’s desires (hiling) to God as an expression of how deeply we want something. He was the one who also said that we should pray unceasingly! And if we did so, healing, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, will be close at hand.

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