Tuesday, February 7, 2012

At our doorstep

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Eclesalia Informativo

Mark 1:29-39

In the morning, at the synagogue at Capernaum, Jesus had freed a man possessed by an evil spirit. Now we're told he leaves the "synagogue" and goes to "the house" of Simon and Andrew. This indication is important since, in Mark's gospel, what happens in this house always contains some teaching for the Christian communities.

Jesus goes from the synagogue -- the official place of the Jewish religion -- to the house, the place where daily life is lived out with one's loved ones. In this house, Jesus' new family will go on growing. The Christian communities must remember that they aren't a religious place where the Law is lived out, but a home where one learns to live in a new way around Jesus.

On entering the house, the disciples speak to Him about Simon's mother-in-law. She can't come out to greet them because she's lying in bed with a fever. Again, He will break the sabbath a second time in the same day. What's important to Him is the healthy life of people, not religious observance. The story describes Jesus' gestures towards the sick woman in full detail.

"He approached." It's the first thing He always does -- approach those who are suffering, look closely at their faces, and share their suffering. Then "He grasped her hand" -- He touches the sick woman. He's not afraid of the purity rules that prohibit it; He wants the woman to feel His healing strength. Finally, "He helped her up" -- He put her on her feet, giving her back her dignity.

This is how Jesus always is among His own -- like an outstretched hand that lifts us, like a close friend who brings us to life. Jesus only knows how to serve, not be served. So the woman He has healed begins to "serve" everyone. She has learned it from Jesus. His followers must welcome and care for each other.

But it would be wrong to think that the Christian community is a family that only thinks about its own members and turns its back on the suffering of others. The narrative says that on the same day at sunset, when the sabbath is over, they bring to Jesus all sorts of sick people and those possessed by evil.

We Christians should capture the scene well. As night falls, the whole town "gathers at the door" with their sick. The eyes and hopes of those who suffer seek the door of this house where Jesus is. The Church only really draws people when the suffering can find Jesus healing and alleviating suffering within it. There are many people suffering at the door of our communities. Let's not forget it.

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