5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Birthday of Saint Peter Julian Eymard in LaMure d’Isère, France, in 1811
It has been remarked that the gospel of Mark is a gospel in a hurry. We are still in the gospel’s first chapter, and much has happened already. John the Baptist appeared in the desert, announcing the coming of one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. John baptizes Jesus and is then driven into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.
Jesus then proclaims the coming of the Kingdom, calls his first disciples, and begins his preaching ministry—all in the first 28 verses of the first chapter of the gospel. The pace of the narrative is breathtaking! Although it’s the shortest gospel, Mark manages to say all he needs to say and leaves a framework that Matthew and Luke will expand on.
In today’s gospel, Jesus performs his first miracle of healing. Mark describes this event briefly but deftly. Peter’s mother-in-law is sick. “Jesus approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her, and she waited on them.” Every word is loaded with meaning and invites reflection.
Pope Francis has spoken often about how we approach each other. Is it with care, love, and attention to the other? Touch is a delicate matter but often crucial. I met a lady once who told me that the only time anyone ever touched her was at the sign of peace at mass. How often do we help someone up?
We don’t have the healing power of the Lord but neither are we helpless. Our presence alone may lift someone out of loneliness and isolation. So much to ponder. Even Peter’s mother-in-law, newly healed, gives a witness of hospitality. Thank you, Mark!
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, teach us by your example to be attentive to the needs of others.