TO OUR HOUSE
In the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus has freed a man possessed by an evil spirit that morning. Now it’s said that he leaves the «synagogue» and heads to the «house» of Simon and Andrew. The reference is important since in Mark’s Gospel what happens in that house has always contained some teaching for our Christian communities.
Jesus passes from the synagogue, the official place of the Jewish religion, to the house, the place where daily life is lived out among the ones we love most. In that house Jesus’ new family is being born. In the Christian communities we need to know that it’s not in the religious places where the Law is being lived out, but in the home, where we learn to live in a new way what Jesus is all about.
Entering the house, the disciples talk about Simon’s mother-in-law. She can’t get up to welcome them, since she’s prostrate in bed with a fever. Jesus doesn’t need to hear anything more. Once again he goes about breaking the Sabbath for the second time that very day. For him, what’s important is the healthy life of people, not religious observances. The story carefully describes Jesus’ actions with the sick woman.
«He comes close». It’s always the first thing He does: come close to those who suffer, see right there their face and share their suffering. Next, «he takes her by the hand»: he touches the sick person, he’s not afraid of the purity rules that forbid it; he wants the woman to feel his healing power. Lastly «he raises her up», he puts her on her feet, he returns her dignity to her.
That’s always how Jesus is in the midst of his own: like a hand extended to raise us up, like a close friend who infuses us with life. Jesus only knows how to serve, not to be served. That’s why the woman whom he healed goes about «serving» everyone. She’s learned it from Jesus. We his followers need to go about welcoming and taking care of each other.
But it would be wrong to think that the Christian community is a family that thinks only about its own members and lives with our backs turned to the suffering of others. The story says that that very day, «when the sun went down», when the Sabbath was over, they bring all kinds of sick people to Jesus, and those possessed by any evil.
Jesus’ followers need to etch this scene on their hearts. When it got dark, the whole population, along with all the sick, «crowded around the door». The eyes and the hopes of those who suffer seek the door of that house where Jesus is. The Church only truly attracts when the people who suffer can discover within her the Jesus who heals life and alleviates suffering. At the doors of our communities are many who suffer. Let’s not forget it.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf