Today’s Gospel selection vividly recounts Jesus’ healing ministry: the cure of the severe fever of Simon’s mother-in-law, multitudes of sick with various diseases – even people with demons! Crowds of people followed Him, and even tried to block his path as He desired to move on to other towns and proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God.
We must constantly remind ourselves that Jesus is the center of our faith because of Who He is, not simply because of his miraculous powers or his persuasive words. The demons driven out by Jesus had more insight into Jesus than many people of times past and present: they declared to Jesus, “You are the Son of God.”
Jesus cured Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of a severe fever, but there were undoubtedly many other sick people whom He did not cure. Jesus laid hands on those with various diseases and healed them, but there were many more sick people throughout the world at that time with whom Jesus never came in contact. Jesus worked his miracles out of a sense of compassion, but he was even more concerned with drawing people to himself in faith. The response of faith is much more important than a cure or a healing; our eternal future, not just our here-and-now lifetime, depends on our response of faith.
We cannot limit ourselves by accepting Jesus only if he pleases our needs or our sense of values. Jesus reveals himself to us as much more than our human “view”: He is the Christ, the Word Made Flesh — and Son of God! We’re invited to believe in and generously follow Him without condition. Like St. Paul in the first reading, we give thanks to God for the gift of faith in Jesus, and the love that freely flows from that faith.
With and in Jesus, we embrace our needy world with the good news of the Kingdom of God. May hope and healing abound!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is a member of the Passionist community in Chicago, Illinois.