The Good News for the Day, August 31, 2022
Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week of Ordinary Time (433)
A Day In The Life…
After Jesus left the synagogue that day, he went to the home of Simon. Simon’s mother-in-law had a fever. People asked Jesus to do something for her. He stood over her, addressed the fever in reproach—and it left her! Right away she got up and attended to them.
“You Are the Child of God”
Towards dusk that day, everybody who had someone sick with any kind of disease brought them to Jesus. He laid his hands on each of them and made them better. The demons that drove people would leave many of them, too. They’d yell, “You are the Child of God.” But he would chide them into silence because they were considering Him the Messiah.
Off to Pray
The next day, He left at dawn, and found a place to be alone. People went looking for Him. When they came to him, they tried to stop him from leaving them. He told them, though, “To other towns, I must go, to proclaim the good news of the Realm of what is Right with God—because that’s the reason I have been sent.”
He would spend time preaching in the synagogues throughout the state of Judea. (Luke 4)
Reflections of the Word of Jesus
Scholars tell us this is a “day in the life of” Jesus. A typical day, apparently, of this itinerant preacher-here as seen by the folks around the area.
No Docudrama but Inspiration
Scholars also remind us that this was written decades later from scraps of memory handed down in communities influenced by the immediate followers of Jesus. But, as I keep insisting, we are not watching a docudrama. You don’t just read and walk away.
We read and listen to this little narrative not as some scientifically researched facts about Jesus – a schoolbook of some kind to be studied and memorized.
Reflections – the Application
No, let us read this prayerfully along the lines of reflection, asking myself: “What Thoughtful challenge does it offer me? What improvement for my soul does this narrative suggest? How is my heart affected so that I love better, my faith grows, and I become even more a child in the family of God? How can I let this narrative change me?”
The Humanity of Jesus
Let us look at the human Jesus for ways that we human beings can act. Too often, you and I and so many of us see Jesus as God and simply omit thinking about him and his human existence – a person with feelings, needs, changes, frustrations, and developments. But this little incident – this day in the life of Jesus – is more a moment to study his traits. What kind of personality did people see when they look and visited this man?
It is not a denial of the divinity of Jesus. We can just re-focus on his humanity. What did he look like to the people around him? If we had seen Jesus in the flesh, what kind of character would we have judged him to be? So often portrayed with a golden halo, a clean white tunic, and expecting someone like a relative or neighbor – we can ask: how does this gospel incident show him?
Jesus is a people person. People come to him – damaged people, needing people, sick people. He is approachable. Jesus, you notice, does not sift some people into a box. On the contrary, Jesus likes what he is doing as he touches these people.
People see him as extraordinary. Though they think it, they do not call him Messiah, or some other such title. The evangelist Luke writes explicitly that “Child of God!” is their understanding of him.
All Jews knew that Psalm 82 describes them as children of God. Here, though, there is something different. These ordinary folks affirm a statement of faith, a commitment to the kind of person Jesus is. They acknowledge that he is different by coming to him – believing in him. He is that kind of person
He heals, forgives, is honest, courageous, prayerful, approachable, caring – so much like their historical view of God!
The Importance Here
Praying highlights these human traits for us to practice. That is the Good News of the humanity of Jesus in the flesh. These are God-like traits we can practice. It is in His approachable presence, His mature kindliness, his willingness to be with anybody and everybody – these are Godlike. He was one of them – but different. He is one of us – but different.