A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark (Mk 1:29-39).
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.
Good News Reflection:
Introductory Prayer: Lord, without you I can do nothing. I unite myself to you, in the most intimate way I know how, to be one with you, the wellspring of goodness and grace.
Petition: Lord, give me resilience in charity and fortitude in trial.
1. Charity the Conqueror. The fever left Simon’s mother-in-law as soon as Jesus touched her. Because of her faith, hope and love, her physical cure was accompanied by spiritual healing as we witness in her prompt selfless charity. She allowed no time for self-pity, excessive anxiety about her illness, or resentment for the suffering she had to bear. How much time is wasted in begrudging past trials and feeling sorry for oneself! Prompt and joyful charity conquers all.
2. Rescued from the Lion’s Mouth. Similarly, St. Paul never allowed self pity, excessive anxiety about self or begrudging resentment to take root in his heart. Although he was abandoned by his friends in the province of Asia at a moment of persecution when he needed them most, his response was simply “May it not be held against them” (2 Timothy 4:16). What is more, he found strength in the Lord and rejoiced in the good that resulted for the sake of the Gospel. “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the Lion’s mouth” (2 Timothy 4:17).
3. Demonic Boundaries. Secular psychology (as opposed to psychology that is open to faith and transcendence denies the existence of evil. The only explanation for violence and crime becomes mental disorder or deficient upbringing. The Gospel reminds us that demonic activity and evil are realities that affect human lives. However, they do not have the last say. “The Power of Satan is not infinite,” the Church reaffirms. “He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries – of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature – to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which, with strength and gentleness, guides human and cosmic history” (CCC 395).
Dialogue with Christ: Lord, you guide my personal history with providence and love even though temptation continues to harass me. Help me to conquer all iniquity in my life and unite myself firmly to you.
Resolution: I will examine my conscience to see if I have slipped into calling evil by some other name.
Fr. Marcial Maciel, LC