Today’s Gospel presents a changing picture: it begins with Jesus, in the familiar and ‘protected’ setting of Simon’s house, healing Simon’s mother in law. The crowds surrounded him throughout the day, and you can imagine the noise and excitement of all the people each time another person was healed. It ends with the same Jesus in the wild and open space, alone, silent, still… with a new mission of spreading the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
It’s a simplified depiction of our faith journey and how we are called to grow. Most of us went through that stage when we were young where we perceive God almost like a genie who can grant all our wishes, who can cure all illnesses, solve all problems and rid us of all sufferings. Yet Jesus’ actions today send out a very different message: his priority was not the physical health of the people, but that all may come to know the Father, may believe in the Kingdom, and strive to make this a reality. This is the ‘maturity’ of faith which he asks of us!
It makes sense then to read the first and second readings of today. The first reading brings the story of Job to the forefront – a good and holy man who was afflicted with all sorts of misfortunes. ‘Why did God allow so many bad things to happen to such a good person?’, we ask. It was a hard lesson to learn, but Job understood eventually that he was called to trust God, no matter what happens. Faith is not an insurance to save us from pain and suffering… it is what gives us strength, hope and courage to go through anything life throws at us. Having understood this, Paul made it his mission, not to ‘heal’ or perform miracles, but to preach the gospel and help people to grow in their trust and faith in God!
In this challenging time that we are living in, I pray that we can grow in the same way. Let our prayer not be only to ask God to do this or that and ‘perform miracles’ from us, but that He may give us the grace, strength and courage to face all things with him.
Many blessings, Sr. Devy
PS: the words of this well known hymn makes an apt prayer for this moment…
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, and I thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with thee one
Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and thou only first in my heart
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art
High King of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all