At the House of Simon

At the House of Simon February 4, 2024

A photograph of the Sea of Galilee
image via Pixabay

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark:

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 left the synagogue and went to the house of Simon.

I don’t know what He was planning to do when He got to Simon’s house. Maybe Simon had offered Jesus dinner at his house and to meet his family. Maybe He was going to have a talk with Simon, speak to him about the new Church that was going to be founded, inform him he was going to be something called a Pope. Or maybe that’s not what Jesus had in mind at all. In any case, there was Jesus.

Jesus had just been to the synagogue, where he’d driven out a demon. He found himself at Simon’s house, where Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed. And Jesus took her hand and spoke to her fever the same way he’d spoken to the demon, and the fever did what the demon did and left.

By this we now that it doesn’t really matter if your problem is some immense supernatural spiritual struggle or a simple earthly problem that most people face. Just bring it all to Jesus, and let Him set it right.

Simon’s mother-in-law knew just what to do. She got up at once and cooked them a meal and served it. By this we know that the correct way to respond to a miracle is to go about your business, in the way that you do best, finding a way to serve others.

Christianity doesn’t have to be more dramatic than this. We make it dramatic, but Christ did not. We don’t have to have a bombastic conversion story and a mountaintop experience, or babble in tongues and fall over backwards. Sometimes that happens, but it’s not what Christianity is. Christianity is more about going to each other’s houses, letting Christ heal us, and then serving each other.

In any case, now the whole town knows something’s up. That evening, after sunset when it’s no longer Sabbath and all right to carry a burden, the whole town shows up at Simon’s house. They are carrying their sick and their possessed, carrying all the problems they have. And Jesus goes right out to help them all. He doesn’t ask if they’ve been good or bad. He doesn’t ask why there are so many demoniacs in town in the first place. He doesn’t make anybody accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior. He doesn’t make sure they’ve got a plan in place so they’ll be self-sufficient from now on, not relying on a handout. He just helps them, because He loves them. And we should do likewise.

After that, He needs a break.

Jesus wakes up before dawn and sneaks out of town to a deserted place to pray. He just got back from a deserted place, as you recall: He was baptized in the Jordan, and then He went out to the desert for a time, and then He came back to town to go to the synagogue. Now He’s off to a deserted place again. You don’t have to be a loud irritating extrovert to be a Christian. You can be an introvert like Jesus. You can have needs. You can take some quiet time by yourself.

Eventually, Simon finds him. “Everyone is looking for you.”

He doesn’t say ” make them leave me alone because I’m praying” and He doesn’t say “tell them to profess my creed before I’ll help them.” He doesn’t say “they ought to be asking me in Ecclesiastical Latin.” He doesn’t ask if they’ve got a copy of the King James Bible. He just gets up. “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” And then He goes to them.

That’s Christianity.

That’s the purpose for which He came.

Christianity is not far from you. Christianity is something you begin to follow here, as yourself and not somebody else, in the place where you are and not somewhere far away, with the problems that you have instead of any other problems, among your own family and in your own community.

Take it from there.

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

 

 

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