1) Opening prayer
Father of love, hear our prayers.
Help us to know Your will
and to do it with courage and faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - 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.
• Jesus restores life for the service. After having participated in the celebration of Saturday in the Synagogue, Jesus went to Peter’s house and cured his mother-in-law. Once healed, she gets up, with her health restored and having recovered her dignity, and she begins to serve. Jesus does not only heal the person, but He does it in such a way that she begins to serve life.
• Jesus accepts the marginalized. When it begins to get dark, in the afternoon, at the end of Saturday when the first star shines in the sky, Jesus accepts and cures the sick and those possessed whom people had brought to Him. The sick and those possessed were the most marginalized people of that time. They had nobody to whom they had recourse. They depended on public charity. Besides this, religion considered them impure. They could not participate in the community. It was as if God rejected and excluded them. Therefore, the Good News of God consists of what He wants to do in the life of people: to accept the marginalized and the excluded, and to insert them again to live together in the community.
• To remain united to the Father, in prayer. Jesus is presented to us while He prays. He makes a great effort to have the time and the adequate environment to pray. He rises before the others and goes to a deserted place, to be able to be alone with God. Many times the Gospels speak to us about the prayer of Jesus, in silence (Mt 14:22-23); Mk 1:35; Lk 5:15-16; 3:21-22). Through prayer He maintains the awareness of His mission.
• To maintain the awareness of the mission and not to close oneself up in what is already obtained. Jesus is known. Everybody follows Him. This publicity pleases the disciples. They go to look for Jesus to take Him back to the people who were seeking for Him, and they tell Him: “All are looking for You.” They thought that Jesus would go to the banquet. They were disillusioned! Jesus does not pay attention and tells them: “Let us go elsewhere. It is precisely for this that I have come!” Surely, they must have been surprised! Jesus was not like what they had imagined Him to be. Jesus had a very clear conscience of the mission and wants to transmit this to the disciples. He does not want them to close themselves up in the results already obtained. They should not look back. But, like Jesus, they should maintain conscious of their mission. It is the mission received from the Father, which has to orientate their decisions.
• It is precisely for this that I have come! This was the first misunderstanding between Jesus and His disciples. At present, it is only a question of a small difference. Later on, in the Gospel of Mark, this misunderstanding will grow and will practically become a break between Jesus and the disciples (cf. Mk 8:14-21,32-33; 9:32; 14:27). Today, there are some misunderstandings along the way in the proclaiming the Good News. Mark helps one to be attentive to the differences.
4) Personal questions
• Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. Peter’s mother-in-law began to serve. Do I act in such a way that my life is a service to God and to my brothers and sisters?
• Jesus is conscious and aware of His mission through prayer. Am I?
5) Concluding prayer
Sing to Yahweh, bless His name!
Proclaim His salvation day after day,
declare His glory among the nations,
His marvels to every people! (Ps 96:2-3)