February 5, 2012: 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee. (Mark 1:29-39)
When we read the gospel we have to learn the meaning of the words the writers use. Oftentimes, as in this gospel, the writer says the person he is talking about was “possessed by demons.” We would say the person is “out of his mind” or sometimes we say he is “crazy.” When someone brought a person to Jesus who was sick or who was “possessed by demons,” he often cured that person, because he wanted all those who were there to know about the wonderful power of God, who loves everyone and wants good things for all.
Sometime today, when you have a few minutes to be all by yourself, sit down quietly and think about this gospel and what it means. What do you call someone who is not quite right? Are you afraid of them? Or do you ridicule them? Do you try to help them when that is possible? This might be a good day to think about your response to a person who does not have all the good things you have, a person who is “different.” How would Jesus treat that person?