Together in Spirit

Browsing From the Desk of Fr. Mike

Jesus' Mission

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.

I wonder how many of the people who were brought to the door of Simon and Andrew’s house were feeling what Job says in the first reading: “Is not man's life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of hirelings? He is a slave who longs for the shade, a hireling who waits for his wages. So, I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me.”  He concludes: “My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle; they come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again."

The kind of suffering that produces those kinds of thoughts is not the product of the common cold. Most of us can endure short term suffering, but the stuff that penetrates into the very being of a person is distressful not only for the one who is suffering, but also for their caretakers. It makes sense that as the town heard of Simon’s mother-in-law being healed that it would not take long for all those who were caring for their suffering relatives and friends to bring them to the door so that Jesus might do for their loved ones what he did for Simon’s mother-in-law. It sounds like he could have planted himself there for quite some time and people would come to him in their need. 

However, as successful Jesus is in healing their sicknesses and driving out demons that this does not fulfill what Jesus’ mission is. He rises early in the morning to pray. When Simon pursues him to report that everyone was looking for him Jesus responds: "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." His first duty is to preach that the Kingdom of God is present. Everything flows from that word. All the healing, all the driving out of demons are physical manifestations that the Kingdom of God has broken into the world, and because of this humankind can live in hope when faced with suffering instead of toiling through the drudgery of Job. 


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