Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Mark 1,29-39

And at once on leaving the synagogue, he went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed and feverish, and at once they told him about her. He went in to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to serve them. That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were sick with diseases of one kind or another; he also drove out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was. In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, 'Everybody is looking for you.' He answered, 'Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can proclaim the message there too, because that is why I came.' And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out devils.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel describes Jesus' intense activity in Capernaum over two consecutive days. Jesus is no longer alone; he has chosen to be with a small group of disciples he has gathered in Simon's house. They form a small family. One day, coming back home, they show him Peter's mother-in-law, lying in bed with a fever. Jesus approaches her, takes her by the hand, and raises her up from her bed, healed. Healing means, in essence, abandoning immobility. The healing of that elderly woman is a lesson we need to learn with care as today the number of elderly has grown considerably and they are often pushed away and abandoned. O the contrary we need to stretch our hand and help them to raise, to serve the Community. The evangelist next describes an extraordinary scene: "All who were sick or possessed with demons" in the city were gathered in front of the door of that house. It is an image that challenges all Christian communities, churches, and especially our hearts. Many poor and sick people are left alone. Jesus shows what the task of Christians is: came out the door and "cured many." Mark does not write that he cured all of them, but many, as if to emphasize that the wounds of the many sick people we are not able to help remain open still. Late at night, Jesus gets up and goes to an isolated place to pray. He starts his day with prayer in a secluded place, far from confusion. It is in silence that he meets his Father who is in heaven. To Jesus, prayer is not only the temporal beginning of the day; it is also its foundation. It must be the same for the disciples. The new time proclaimed of the kingdom of heaven starts when the disciples turn their minds and hearts to God in prayer. This is why Jesus tells the disciples who wanted to keep him in that region that we must broaden our hearts to the ends of the earth. Jesus does not stop in the usual places; he goes everywhere there is need of salvation.