A Busy Day in Jesus’ LifeThe Cure of a Demoniac. Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.The Cure of Simon’s Mother-in-Law. On leaving the synagogue he 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.Other Healings. 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.Jesus Leaves Capernaum. 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 himand 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.Mark 1: 21-39
Father O’Brien S.J. in The Ignatian Adventure (Week 16, Day 3) brings a different lens to the reading of this passage. He asks me/us to join Jesus on a busy day.
Jesus my Lord, you are picking up speed in your ministry. There is a sense of driving purpose. I started to write “driven purpose” but that is not correct. The psychological concept of “locus of control” comes to mind. What I read here is an internal locus of control. You were driving yourself to teach, preach, and heal. Yes, people were looking for you and asking or pleading for your time, attention, and miracles. However, you were listening to your own inner voice, your own sense of purpose and calling, your own schedule.
There are so many valuable lessons for those of us who live such hectic lives. These jump out at me:
- You worked hard. You did the work you felt called to do and did it whole heartedly.
- You made time your inner circle and took care of their needs as well. I love the story of your healing of Peter’s mother. So many times we are so focused on the outside world, that we neglect those closest to us.
- You were generous with your time and your gifts – even when you were exhausted. I think back to the healing of the hemorrhaging woman who just touches your garment and you feel the energy drain from you. Healing costs you.
- You took time to be by yourself and pray. You withdrew. You stood down. You returned to the well and re-centered.
- You went to the place of need. As I read this passage I think about how easy it would have been to just stay in one place and let the people come to you for preaching and healing. However, you were active and moved around. You went where the need was and entered into the context of the people.
Moving from abstract to personal, these are valuable lessons. Be whole-hearted and work hard. Take care of the needs of those closest to me and not just the outside “others.” Be generous with my time and energy, willingly pay the price. Set aside and protect prayer and alone time. Finally, meet people where they are, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Sometimes I wonder what it means to “follow Christ.” These five ways of engaging in the real world are part of the answer to that question. Thank you, Lord!