1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20
The Gospel of Mark begins abruptly: "The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." This is how it happened.
Simon’s mother-in-law lies ill with a fever. Jesus promptly takes her hand and helps her up. She is immediately cured of her fever and she begins waiting on Jesus, Simon, James and John. Can we perceive the good news in this episode?
First, Jesus breaks a cultural barrier by touching Simon’s mother-in-law. In that culture and time, men did not touch women, except family members. Jesus then breaks a Mosaic barrier. He heals the woman on the Sabbath.
Second, the Gospel tells us Jesus "grasped her hand and helped her up." The Greek verb for helping her up is "egeiren." It means literally to "raise," the same word used to describe Jesus’ resurrection. And she waited – in Greek "diekonei" – more accurately, she ministered to them. We get the word "deacon" from it.
Jesus immediately dramatizes for us the beginning of his good news. There are no barriers, no obstacles that will prevent Jesus from entering our house, our soul, where suffer spiritual illness. By his healing touch, he will raise us to new life and restore us to our community. And in that new life, we are called to minister to one another. That is how the good news happens.
Deacon Manuel Valencia is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.