Jesus the good shepherd

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time -Year B- Follow in Jesus’ Footsteps and Learn From Him

In his ministry, Jesus leaves the Synagogue of Capernaum and enters the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. There, it was reported that Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Immediately, the fever left her and she waited on them. After sunset, the people brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons, even as the people gathered by the door, he cured many who were sick and drove out many demons without permitting them to speak. (Mark 1:29-39).


In the midst of these heavy activities, Jesus still was able to go off to a deserted place, where to pray. As Simon and those who were with him found him, reporting how everyone is looking for him, he did not want to be bugged down there, but kept going to nearby villages to preach there also. In fulfilment of his missionary purpose, he went around their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.


There are certain remarkable facts about the ministry of Jesus in the house of Simon and Andrew. Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, is the image of the church living in the service of the Lord, symbolizing the disciples who take care of others. Here, we see the women in the healing stories embody the themes of faith, trust, and risk taking. Like Simon’s mother-in-law, who started serving after being healed, they carry out the theme of faith and praxis in an even more explicit way, with remarkable power to reason, to serve, to taking risk, and to endure. They do not provide models of specifically female virtue, but of faith. St. Luke also reported the discipleship of such women in his gospel account chapter 8:1-3, where he emphasizes that accompanying him were the twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities… and many others, who provided for them out of their resources. These women followed Jesus as far as the cross, as models of the ideal disciple. They followed him from Galilee to Jerusalem, were present with him all through his life, death and resurrection, and were witnesses to his resurrection. They learnt from Jesus how to combine activity and prayer.


Another thing remarkable that we learn from the ministry of Jesus in the house of Simon, is the necessity of combining work and prayer. A true disciple should not be completely absorbed in activities without having time for prayer, meditation and contemplation. That is why Jesus left early to go into the desert to pray. As disciples, we cannot give what we do not have. We must give, in all of our activities, the fruits of our contemplation, which is being alone with God in prayer and listening. Like Jesus, we must diversify our ministry for the benefit of all.


There are a lot of things we can learn from Jesus’ ministry. Like Jesus, we must engage in spiritual warfare through exorcism to overcome all evil forces. He cured the man with an unclean spirit who was present in the Synagogue. Here, he showed himself to be the “Exorcist-in-Chief.” And today, as we can see in the gospel, he establishes himself as the “Doctor of Doctors.” He did not need any of the modern medical tools to carry out his cure. Here, the Transcendence of God defies every medical protocol and cures people in a miraculous way. Hence, the focal point is about Jesus and the sick. He cured the mother-in-law of Peter.


Indeed, Jesus shows undiluted and unquestionable empathy towards his followers and even their relatives. This is why he cured many, who were sick with many diseases in the gospel of today.


Healing is part of the acts of God in the Old Testament. Here, God was seen as the “Supreme Healer of Israel.” The hope of the people was in him as their “healer and forgiver.” In other words, they looked on God as a psychosomatic healer, that is, the one who heals their body by curing their ailments, and the God who heals their souls by forgiving them.


Following Jesus, like St. Paul, we must make ourselves the servant of all, so as to win over as many as possible. We must make ourselves all things to all people in order to save at least some of them (1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23).