Thursday, 1 February 2018


                                                           JESUS TO THE RESCUE

It all started in the Synagogue, as we heard in last’s Sunday’s Gospel. A man in the gathering began to shout at Jesus like one possessed by an unclean spirit.  One sharp word from Jesus  and the wretched man was freed from his tormentor. Those in the Synagogue were deeply impressed at the authority and power Jesus had brought into play. Word about this grew from a small trickle into a tidal wave.

Meanwhile, on leaving the Synagogue Jesus accompanied His recently acquired disciples, James and John, to the home of two other of His recruits, Simon and Andrew.  At once  they  told Jesus  that Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever. Without a single word Jesus took her by the hand and helped her up.  The fever had left her. She began to wait on them.

Her prompt reaction is telling us to imitate her example. Those who are blessed by God, those who are  helped by other people in a very practical way, as she was,  should be eager to be at the service of others insofar as they are able.  A brisk ‘Thank you!’ is surely not good enough. Kindnesses received by us should transform us into being distributors of kindnesses.

Later in the day, after the closure of the Sabbath at sunset crowds of people felt free to labour in carrying to Jesus the sick and those possessed by devils. Jesus made time to heal each and all with their variety of ailments.  These person to person encounters with Jesus must have meant so much to them, and, to Jesus also. Can we learn from Jesus how to respond to people who approach us with their needs; how we relate to those sick persons  we visit in their homes or in hospitals? .   Do we give them the impression that we’re so busy, so over-worked, that we have to move in on them and leave them at speed?   Our personal spirituality will shrivel once consider it a task whenever we are called to do something for others.  Jesus is reaching out to them through us. We are representing Him.

After this very busy, worthwhile, day Jesus  took some well-deserved rest. He rose early next morning so that He could go to a lonely place and pray there. As a member of the human family Jesus needed peace and quiet to be alone in prayer with His Heavenly Father. He would want us to join Him in praying for the sensitivity, the compassion, the patience , even the physical strength to be there for others, to be responsive whenever they need us …no matter how inconvenient this may be to ourselves.    When we fail create time for prayerful conversation with God we cheat those to whom we minister because we have devalued our very selves.

 Sometimes there’s no escaping the demands people make on you. This   happened  when Simon and his companions broke into the prayer-time of Jesus to tell Him a crowd was looking for Him.  Jesus surprised these disciples and surely disappointed these people when He told them He had to move on. Neighbouring towns needed to hear Him preach.   They also had their sick who needed His attention. He’d come to this region of Galilee   on their behalf as well. We in our turn, may have to extend the scope of our ministry so as to be available to others who need us. This may call for Christ-like sacrificial love on our part.

Having said all this, I must say I hesitate to be as open-hearted was Jesus when he said, “Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest,” (Mtt.11.28). I’m too fearful about what I might be getting myself into. What about you?

Peter  Clarke, O.P.


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